Elder abuse takes many forms. While generally something the US population is vaguely familiar with, the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) reports that knowledge about elder abuse is lagging decades behind the issues of child abuse or domestic violence. Statistics issued by the NCEA reveal that a large percentage of the most shocking cases of elder abuse occurs in nursing home settings. A Las Vegas elder abuse attorney can help you file to seek to recover compensatory damages in cases of nursing home abuse or against elder home care agencies who have provided services to your loved one.
A staggering 188,599 complaints about abuse were filed in a recent year. Of those complaints, 14,258, or 7.6 % involved abuse, gross cases of neglect, or exploitation. Is your loved one safe in his or her nursing home? It is critical that you are aware of, and stay alert to, the signs of abuse.
Types of Elder Abuse
Elder abuse has a negative impact on the life and health of an older person. The types of abuse include:
- Physical abuse: The types of reported physical abuse include welts, bruises, broken bones, head injuries, bedsores, broken teeth, and other injuries. Physical abuse also includes poor nutrition and dehydration and neglect, leading to the worsening of physical health and the potential for leading to premature death.
- Psychological abuse: Verbal abuse such as yelling, screaming, threatening, bullying, typically leads to depression, withdrawal, fear, and emotional damage.
- Financial abuse: Illegally gaining access to the assets of the elderly, such as bank accounts, stock accounts, valuables, or using undue influence and pressure to cause an elderly person with cognitive impairment to change a will to the benefit of a certain party.
- Sexual abuse: A caregiver may take advantage of the vulnerability of an elderly person to engage in sexual abuse, whether through intercourse or other sexual acts.
The Signs and Symptoms of Elder Abuse
Various signs and symptoms can indicate that a family member is a victim of elder abuse. These signs include:
- Lack of hygiene
- Very dry, flaky skin (dehydration)
- Sudden weight loss (malnutrition)
- Flinching away from physical contact
- Bruises, sores, cuts
- Dirty clothing and bedding
- Unpleasant odor
- Bruises, cuts, burns, abrasions
- Bedsores (pressure sores)
- Restricted access to your relative
- Hospitalizations while in care
- Hearing aids, glasses, walking supports missing
- Valuables missing
- Will changes for the benefit of one party
What to Do if You Suspect Elder Abuse
If you have concerns about the welfare of an elderly relative, whether he or she lives in a nursing home or supported by in-home caregivers, it is imperative that you act quickly. Older persons are often in frail health, and when not cared for can suffer an early death. If you believe your loved one may be a victim, and in imminent danger, call the authorities at once. In Las Vegas, suspicions of elder abuse should be reported to the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program.
Nevada Law and Elder Abuse
Under NRS 500.5093, elder abuse must be reported by certain persons if identified, including medical professionals treating the individual. If you believe your loved one is the victim of abuse, neglect, exploitation, isolation or abandonment, it is imperative that you get help to resolve the situation quickly and effectively.
Contact a Las Vegas Elder Abuse Lawyer
At Cogburn Law, we advocate for elderly persons who have been victims of financial, physical, or emotional abuse. Statistically, family members are the most common perpetrators of financial abuse, followed by neighbors and home elder care workers. The finances of an elderly person can be irreparably damaged by an unscrupulous “friend,” caregiver, or even a family member who takes advantage of diminished capacity. Whether in a nursing home or in a home care setting, elder abuse is a serious issue and must be addressed and resolved correctly and fast.
If your elderly loved one has been abused, neglected, or exploited financially, call an experienced Las Vegas elder abuse attorney at Cogburn Law today for a free case consultation.