An estimated 2.1 million elderly fall victim to abuse and neglect each year.For every case of elder abuse that is reported,there may be as many as 5 cases that are not and nearly 70 percent of Adult Protection Service agencies’ caseload each year involve some form of elder abuse.
Because many of the residents in nursing homes are helpless ,depend totally on the staff to meet their needs,and have limited communication abilities,identifying potential abuse can be difficult at best.
Knowing the signs of elder abuse can increase intervention and prevention of abuse and help to ensure that the elderly get the care they deserve.
Physical abuse-Skin tears,broken bones,signs of being restrained,sudden change in behaviour,repeated unexplained injuries and untreated wounds in various stages of healing.
Sexual abuse-Bruising or injury to the genital area,vaginal or anal bleeding,unexplained veneral disease.
Emotional and verbal abuse-Becoming withdrawn and uncommunicative,obvious behaviour changes,agitated or upset.
Neglect-Poor hygiene,malnutrition,dehydration,bed sores,lack of assistance when needed,untreated health problems.
Financial abuse-Sudden changes to the bank account,valuable items are missing,abrupt change in the will,new best friends.
If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from elder abuse,the worst thing you can do is keep silent.Speak to the Director of Nursing,Social Worker or the Administrator about your concerns.If you feel that your comlplaints are not being addressed to your satisfaction you should file a complain with state Licensing and Certification;they are required by law to investigate your complaint.