The elderly population contains some of the most vulnerable people in our country. While some older Americans as mentally sharp, physically fit, and able to take care of themselves even late into their lives, others aren’t as fortunate and rely on others for their care. Relying on others can be a gamble because not all caretakers will treat your loved one how they deserve to be treated.
Most people who work with the elderly do their job phenomenally and provide expert care with compassion. However, some are not so great and perpetrate elder abuse. If you or your loved one has experienced abuse in their long-term care facility, then you could use the help of a lawyer to get them justice. They deserve expert care, which is why we’ll fight for their rights if they receive anything less.
In order to understand this behavior and be vigilant of the signs of elder abuse, it’s important to look at what conditions may increase the chances of elder abuse occurring.
Risk Factors That Increase Nursing Home Abuse
Unfortunately, there are many conditions and risk factors that can lead to elders being abused by their caretakers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list these factors and say that there are different categories that they fall into. Any combination of individual, relational, communal, or societal factors could lead to a caretaker abusing an older person.
Some of the individual risk factors that cause a person to abuse an elder are:
- Mental conditions in the patient, like dementia
- Mental illness in the abuser
- Alcohol abuse
- Hostile behavior or attitude
- Poor training
- Assuming caregiving duties at an early age
- Bad coping skills and mechanisms
- Experiencing or witnessing abuse as a child
In relational risk factors, a person could be influenced to abuse an older person they’re caring for these reasons:
- Financial and emotional dependence on the person they’re caring for
- No social support from friends or family
- No assistance in caring for them
On a community level, the conditions that could increase the chances of elder abuse occurring are that formal services for support are not available within the community. These services could also be available but are limited or inaccessible.
On a societal level, factors like acceptance of aggressive behavior or the expectation of children caring for their parents on their own can contribute to the abuse of that older person. In nursing homes, there can be a culture that affects the care of their residents and leads to mistreatment as well. Cultures like lack of sympathy, staffing problems, and burnout could all contribute to a poor experience for residents and put them in danger of being abused.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways to combat these factors for abuse so that elders and their family members have ways to improve the treatment of their loved one.
How to Prevent Elder Abuse
The CDC also lists ways that people can prevent elder abuse in the same categories as the factors that contribute to that abuse. Here are some of the most important factors of how to ensure that an older American has lifelines and can prevent being abused:
- Having many strong relationships, whether friends or family
- Organizations and services available to report mistreatment and advocate for elders’ rights
- Strong sense of community, whether in a town or in a facility
- Monitoring systems in facilities to regulate behavior
- Employee training on elder abuse
- Regular visits from family and friends to ensure they’re being treated properly and doing okay
The most important thing you can do for your loved one in a nursing home is to visit and call frequently. This can help you monitor how they’re being treated which is essential to preventing abuse. The visits also help with your loved one’s mental state and show them they’re cared about and not forgotten.
If you suspect your loved one is being abused, you’ll need to properly report the abuse, and then you’ll want to hire an lawyer to help you defend your loved one’s rights.
Our Firm Can Help You
Once you’ve reported the abuse of your loved one to the proper authorities, you’ll want a nursing home abuse lawyer from our firm on your side to ensure you are supported throughout the legal process. At Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC, we’re here to make this as easy as possible for you. We’ll handle the legal side of things while you focus on getting your loved one to safety.
Reach out to us today so that we can discuss your legal options and get started on your claim right away. The sooner we intervene, the sooner your loved one is safe, and the abuser is held accountable for their actions.