There are more than 40 million people over the age of 65 living in the United States today. In fact, this demographic – known as the baby boomers – accounts for the largest percentage of our nation’s population. Many in this age group are living independently, working, and even traveling around the world. But some, especially those on the older end of the spectrum, are beginning to need help with everyday tasks, such as eating, bathing, and dressing. When older adults are no longer able to care for themselves, they are sometimes placed in nursing homes. Although the vast majority of these establishments provide excellent care, abuse and neglect is not uncommon. Some experts estimate that up to 40 percent of all nursing home residents have been abused or neglected at some point.
The disturbing reality is that much of the abuse and neglect suffered by nursing home residents goes unreported or underreported. In fact, a study recently published by Cornell University and the New York City Department for the Aging, reveals that elder abuse may be 24 times greater than the cases that are actually reported to the authorities. An earlier study done by the National Center on Elder Abuse in 2000, revealed that more than half of nursing home staff surveyed admitted to neglecting, or otherwise mistreating, residents in some way. If you are concerned about your loved one’s well-being, contact a Boston nursing home abuse lawyer today.
Abuse and Neglect Come in Many Forms
Abuse doesn’t always result in bruises and broken bones. Emotional abuse and other acts, such as withholding food, can be just as painful and traumatic. Below are common types of physical and emotional abuse suffered by elderly nursing home residents:
- Over-medication or withholding medication
- Over-feeding or withholding food
- Falling or injuries due to neglect
- Inappropriate physical restraints
- Using isolation as punishment
- Using threats to force residents to cooperate
- Manipulating or intimidating residents to convince them not to report abuse
- Assault or sexual assault
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Considering that incidents of elder abuse and neglect often go unreported or underreported, it is important to watch for signs when a loved one is in a nursing home. The signs below are commonly associated with abuse and neglect:
- Sudden and unexplained weight loss
- Evidence that personal hygiene is suffering
- Fractured bones
- Presence of unapproved restraints
- A dirty or excessively-cluttered room
- Lack of communication when your loved one’s health or quality of life has changed
- Missing personal property
- Loved one appears withdrawn, frightened, or confused
Symptoms of Malnutrition and Dehydration
Malnutrition and dehydration are commonly associated with elder neglect. The symptoms below may indicate malnutrition or dehydration.
- Extreme weight loss
- Dental issues
- Wounds that fail to heal properly
- Canker sores and other types of mouth infection
- Extreme thirst
- Dark or cloudy urine
- Breathing problems
Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston’s Premier Nursing Home Abuse Law Firm
If you are concerned that an elderly loved one may be suffering from nursing home abuse, the legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been protecting the rights of nursing home abuse victims for more than 50 years. Our knowledgeable, compassionate attorneys can help you determine if abuse or neglect is a concern. If it is, we will make sure the appropriate parties are held accountable so that your loved one can heal. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.