Abuse of elders comes in several shapes and sizes. The public in Indiana is mostly aware that elder abuse has occurred in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. It can also occur at home. There are laws that protect the elderly against abuse, which goes beyond physical abuse. Here is an overview of what constitutes abuse of elders and its prevalence.
Nursing home abuse is just one form of elder abuse that is recognized by the law. Abuse takes place when the elder is put in confinement or restraints that are completely unnecessary and may or may not cause injury. Threats and causing mental distress also fall under the abuse category. It is estimated that 2.1 million elderly Americans who experience some form of abuse annually. These are the cases that are reported. There are additional cases that are not reported.
Physical abuse takes place when the elder is left with visible marks on their body. Emotional abuse occurs when threats, harassment and intimidation is made against the elder including exploitation. This does not leave physical marks, so it is hard to spot. Financial abuse occurs when the finances of the elder are taken over through unlawful or unethical means. In nursing homes and assisted facilities, neglect is an abuse that is commonly reported. Other signs of abuse include malnutrition, unexplained injuries and unpaid bills as well as missing belongings, unusual withdrawals from bank accounts and obvious emotional distress.
Those who suspect their elderly family member is experiencing any type of abuse are advised to speak with a lawyer who specializes in personal injury law. Nursing home abuse should be reported so that the situation can be rectified. In-home abuse should also be reported even if family members are the ones causing it. A lawyer may help those concerned navigate through the legal proceeding.