Seniors are one of the more vulnerable populations in the world and they often depend on the help of others to provide for their daily needs and routine. Sadly, many elderly suffer from abuse and neglect at the hands of caretakers. Elder abuse may be growing in Las Vegas, as many retirees choose to live their lives here. When one of your loved ones is on the receiving end of such abuse and neglect, the situation requires immediate action.
Elder Abuse Statistics
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 recent years. 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.
What Are The Different 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 of Elders
This type of elder abuse involves the deliberate use of force that can cause pain and can lead to an injury. Hitting and shoving are the most common forms of physical abuse, but also unwarranted confinement or inappropriate use of drugs are included.
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.
The guilty caretakes may try to avoid detection. They will try to dissuade you from actually seeing your loved one. This alone should be enough to raise your suspicions. If you think your loved one is being abused, call us immediately and speak to an experienced elder abuse attorney.
Psychological Abuse of Elders
An elderly person who doesn’t show overt signs of physical injuries may very well be suffering in other ways that are not so obvious. It’s been known that some caretakers can ridicule their patients or even threaten them. Some common ways caretakers may psychologically abuse the elderly are:
- Subject them to extended periods of isolation
- Decline to make conversation
- Frighten them with menacing body language
- Refuse to acknowledge their presence
- Yelling and screaming
If you see your loved one starting to rock compulsively or making sucking sounds, mumbling, or behaving in a weird way, it doesn’t mean that they’ve developed dementia necessarily. This kind of behavior is a normal response to emotional suffering from prolonged psychological cruelty.
Financial Abuse of Elders
Some caregivers can illegally gain 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 of Elders
This might sound hard to believe, but some caregivers enjoy subjecting their elderly patients to a sexual form of torment. A caregiver may take advantage of the vulnerability of an elderly person to engage in sexual abuse, whether through intercourse or other sexual acts. It can also include forcing the patient to:
- Look at pornographic images
- Watch others engage in sex acts
- Undress against their wishes
- Submit to unwanted advances
The victims of this kind of abuse can show some bruising in their genitals or breasts and can sometimes suffer from vaginal or anal bleeding. If your loved one was diagnosed with an STF, this would be an unmistakable sign. If you see any signs of sexual abuse, you need to get legal and medical help immediately.
What Are 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
We have an article posted on the 10 red flags of nursing home abuse that you might find helpful.
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.
What Is The Nevada Law Regarding Elder Abuse?
Under NRS 500.5093, elder abuse must be reported by certain persons if identified, including the following:
- Medical professionals
- Employees of hospitals
- Home health agencies
- Law enforcement employees
- Mortuary or funeral home employees
- Social workers
- Adult or juvenile probation officers
- Department of Health and Human Services’ employees
- Employees of the facilities providing care for older persons
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.
What Are The Penalties For Elder Abuse Crimes?
A person guilty of elderly abuse crimes can be charged with a gross misdemeanor if it’s their first conviction. The penalties they face can be up to 12 months in prison or $2,000 in fines. The judge may also make the defendant pay compensation to the victim as a part of their sentence.
If the victim suffered substantial physical harm or mental harm, then the penalties are more serious. Even if it’s the first conviction. These crimes may be charged as a category B felony in the state of Nevada.
If the person accused of elder abuse has a prior conviction for the same crime, they can also be charged as a category B felony.
Contact A Las Vegas Elder Abuse Lawyer Now
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.
Do you want to learn more about the process of bringing an elder abuse claim? Add your email below and we will send you our guide free of charge. It includes useful tips on things to avoid when going through a claim and how you can give yourself the best chance of winning it.