Elder abuse is being exposed more and more in the United States. Everyone with an older person in his or her life needs to exercise constant vigilance in order to recognize this situation. The reason is that it can happen to anyone at any time. Family members, friends and anyone else who has regular contact with someone who is older needs to do everything possible to put a stop to elder abuse when they suspect that it’s occurring. While our society has become more aware of the existence of this problem, elder abuse prevention remains a challenge.
Researchers at the University of North Carolina, the University of California at San Diego and Weil Cornell Medicine collaborated on a study regarding the recognition of elder abuse in emergency departments across the United States. That study revealed a problem with the level of recognition. They reviewed national databases that related to older people reporting to emergency rooms in the United States. The study concluded that emergency departments diagnosed elder abuse in an estimated 3,846. The researchers also found that:
- Neglect accounted for 32.9 percent of cases recorded.
- Physical abuse accounted for 32.2 percent of cases.
- Women were much more likely to be diagnosed with elder abuse than men.
- Elder abuse was badly under-diagnosed overall.
The recent study revealed the issues regarding the recognition of elder abuse. It cites that we need to improve our prevention and recognition of this terrible problem. Elder abuse prevention requires constant involvement in the lives of older people. Loved ones, friends and other contacts need to regularly ask questions of anyone who is receiving care. Asking questions about the quality of care will help to more quickly identify a problem when something is wrong. People also need to recognize the warning signs of elder abuse. Examples of these warning signs include:
- Unexplained physical injuries
- The appearance of bed sores
- Sudden and radical changes in personality
- The refusal to see people
- A change in a person’s financial situation
- Weight loss
There are other signs of abuse, but the bottom line is that if you suspect that a loved one is suffering through elder abuse, you need to act on that suspicion instead of telling yourself that everything will work out. Older people who require care are often extremely vulnerable to harm. Every instance of abuse can inflict serious if not permanent damage.
You also need to take action to restore a loved one’s dignity and safety if he or she is suffering through elder abuse.
If you have a loved one who has suffered a fall or abuse in a nursing home in Georgia, no matter what the circumstances, contact Michael McElroy, P.C., for a free consultation. Michael McElroy is an experienced personal injury attorney, and he can advise you on how to secure the necessary compensation for your loved one’s recovery.