Elder abuse is a silent epidemic. With a rapidly aging population and the rise in assisted living facility use, more and more Americans are vulnerable. Nursing homes offer a uniquely private environment for abusers to take advantage of their victims, particularly as those victims age, lose mobility, and become increasingly unable to communicate.
According to the World Health Organization, almost 17% of nursing home residents will suffer some form of abuse. Emerging research suggests that number is much higher, with many very severe cases going unreported.
The Best Thing To Do Is Be Vigilant
As you care for your aging loved one, either by yourself, through in-home caregivers or by residential placement, you have the power to prepare and plan and the responsibility to stay aware. New York laws ensure that there are consequences for elder abuse.
The first step is preparation. New York has extensive guidance for families who are looking for a safe residential environment. You can access information online about a facility, including state assessments and reported incidents. You are also within your rights to request more information from the facility managers and owners.
Unfortunately, even in the best of circumstances, abuse can still occur. Elder abuse may be happening if you notice:
- Bedsores and ulcers
- Bruising, cuts or other injuries
- Depression and anxiety, especially in regard to staff
- Major weight loss or weight gain
Similarly, you should pay close attention to your loved one’s bank statements, bills and other valuables. If you suspect elder abuse, you can request a wellness check or investigation.
If further examination results in evidence of abuse, then you can take legal action. You and your loved ones have the right to a safe, healthy and abuse-free environment. Find a lawyer who has the experience and information to fight for your rights.