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What are the signs of elder abuse or neglect?

Families all across Illinois have to deal with the difficult decision of whether to place an elderly loved one in a residential care facility. As family members get older, their medical and physical needs can be difficult for individuals keep up with. In many cases, there may be no choice but to research nursing homes.

We assume that these facilities will be equipped to care for our loved ones with experience, compassion and professionalism. Unfortunately, there are cases when these workers provide substandard care or abuse patients who suffer from physical or mental deficiencies and vulnerabilities and cannot protect themselves or report misconduct.

In order to protect these patients, it can be crucial for family members and friends to be aware of some of the signs of nursing home neglect or abuse. These signs include:

  • Bruising
  • Unusual emotional changes or instability
  • Abrasions or broken bones
  • Genital trauma
  • Fear of being touched or approached
  • Behavioral changes, including withdrawal from certain activities
  • Sudden changes in the person's financial situation, indicating potential exploitation
  • Bed sores

These are just some of the ways people can identify signs of mental, physical, financial or sexual abuse or neglect. Keeping an eye out for these conditions can help us protect our loved ones from being mistreated by those who have promised to care for them.

If and when a person suspects that an elder is being abused or neglected, it can be crucial to take action to put a stop to the behaviors and hold offenders accountable for any damages suffered as a result. Filing a legal claim can highlight systematic problems in a facility and hold individuals responsible for mistreating others. While it can also result in compensation for victims, it can also hopefully prevent others from suffering from the same horrific treatment.

Source: Administration on Aging, "What is Elder Abuse?" accessed on July 29, 2014

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