If you have a parent or loved one in a nursing home or in institutional care in Ohio, it is important to be aware of the many forms of elder abuse and nursing home neglect.
As the Baby Boomers move into the retirement years, many families and children are challenged with providing quality of life, and quality of care, as their family member ages.Due to illness or infirmity, some seniors are unable to live at home, and need the extra help provided in a skilled nursing or assisted living environment.
Part of our work involves creating estate plans that are tailored to the needs of aging clients.From advanced medical directives to trusts and wills, we regularly craft elder law solutions to answer the needs of aging parents and grown-up children.Part of the worry about a decision to move an elderly relative to a nursing facility is the fear they might be harmed, and the concern is sometimes not misplaced.
Suffering in Silence
In Ohio, and elsewhere in the US, the true numbers of seniors who suffer from elder abuse is unknown.Like young children, older adults are often ignored, disbelieved, or simply unable to speak about what has happened to them.According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), approximately 10 percent of seniors suffer some form of abuse.
More than any other aspect of your life, the placement of an aging family member is not a “set and forget” task.Maintaining active awareness of the environment of your loved one, whether they are in a nursing home, hospital, or private home, is critical to ensuring they live out their lives without being subject to abuse.
Keep these points in mind when you visit an elderly loved one or friend:
- Many types of elder abuse occur in nursing homes and other living environments for senior or disabled individuals.Forms of senior abuse include physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, along with physical neglect.Of these, financial abuse is the most common.
- Financial abuse in a nursing home can involve the theft of valuables such as jewelry.It can also be combined with emotional and physical abuse when caregivers coerce seniors into giving them money, or access to bank accounts which are then emptied.Unfortunately, a great deal of elder financial abuse is committed by relatives who exploit seniors through their relationship to them.
- Risk factors for elder abuse include dementia, isolation or lack of social support, being female, and poor physical health. One report found that 50 percent of people with dementia suffer some form of abuse.
- Signs and signals of abuse include physical injury, bedsores, unexplained bruising anywhere on the body and lack of adequate hygiene.Seek help if you visit a loved one and are not allowed to visit with them privately, if money or valuables are disappearing, or if your family member shows signs of fear and emotional withdrawal.
Because we all lose cognitive awareness and capability as we age, it is easy to dismiss the discomfort of an older person—but you should not.If you have serious questions or concerns about the treatment of an elderly person in any setting, speak with an experienced elder law attorney and consider reporting the condition for investigation by the State of Ohio.
Experienced Elder Law Attorneys Serving Southern Ohio
With offices in Waverly and Chilicothe, the attorneys at Seif & McNamee, LLC deliver trusted legal service on matters of elder law, business, family law, personal injury and other practice areas. With 25 successful years representing clients in Ross and Pike counties, we have knowledgeable answers to your legal questions. Contact us or call 740.835.4882 today.