As our parents begin to age, we are reminded of our responsibility to protect them. Elderly persons are at risk for bullying, being taken advantage of financially through scams, falls, and even neglect by those to whom we entrust their care. We see them become more physically frail, sometimes even suffering dementia or other mental deficiencies as a result of age. They will often lose their memory, eyesight, hearing or just not be able to think as clearly as they once did. How do we detect elder abuse? We try to keep in touch with our parents in order to avoid physical abuse, mental abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, abandonment or financial exploitation.
We must even be wary of healthcare fraud and abuse. Some of the ways elderly people can be taken advantage of are by healthcare professionals not providing heathcare, but charging for it, overcharging or double billing for medical care and services, overmedicating or undermedicating, Medicaid or Medicare fraud, or even recommending fraudulent remedies for illnesses or other medical conditions.
Nursing homes are a primary location for elder abuse or nursing home neglect. Some of the warning signs you should watch for are:
- Unexplained signs of injury such as bruises, welts, or scars, especially if they appear symmetrically on two side of the body
- Broken bones, sprains, or dislocations
- Report of drug overdose or apparent failure to take medication regularly (a prescription has more remaining than it should)
- Broken eyeglasses or frames
- Signs of being restrained, such as rope marks on wrists
- Caregiver’s refusal to allow you to see the elder alone
- Bruises around breasts or genitals
- Unexplained venereal disease or genital infections
- Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding
- Torn, stained, or bloody underclothing
Classic examples of nursing home negligence include falls, medication errors and chronic bedsores. If you suspect a loved one has been subjected to elder abuse or nursing home negligence, contact an attorney experienced in nursing home negligence.