Understanding the Causes and Signs of Elder Abuse
It’s evident that the elderly are vulnerable and that elder abuse is becoming an increasingly common problem. In fact, thousands of elderly abuse cases are reported in Ohio each year. If you suspect elder abuse, you can seek legal counsel from an experienced elder abuse attorney at The Henry Law Firm in Ohio. We can help you get the abuse victim to safety and assist you with seeking justice for the wrongs done.
According to the CDC, elder abuse is far more prevalent than many are led to believe. Between 2002 and 2016, approximately 643,000 older adults were treated at a hospital for nonfatal assaults, while an estimated 19,000 homicides transpired. It’s believed that nearly one in ten people over the age of 60 experience abuse such as exploitation and neglect in their home or nursing home.
To help you understand the causes and signs of elder abuse, we have written this article.
What Is Elder Abuse in Ohio?
Elder abuse lawsuits can be challenging to navigate, which is why we aim to make the entire process easy to understand. Let’s take a look at how elder abuse is classified in Ohio.
Under Ohio law, elder abuse is classified as the unlawful infliction of abuse that causes physical harm, mental harm, or pain by someone else or the elderly person. Elder abuse can be psychological, sexual, financial, or physical. Here are a few examples:
- Unreasonable confinement
- Cruel punishments
Usually, elder abuse is not a one-time occurrence but rather a pattern that develops. That’s why it’s crucial to consider speaking with an attorney from our firm. We can help you discern if someone you care for is the victim of elder abuse and provide you with the tools to seek the justice they deserve.
Common Causes of Elder Abuse
Before we can look at the signs of elder abuse, it’s essential to consider what causes elder abuse. Under no circumstances are these causes justifiable, but it’s a good idea to know the reasons so that you can identify if elder abuse is occurring. It’s vital to note that elder abuse can happen in the home or at a formal caregiving institution like a hospital or nursing home.
Factors that may lead to elder abuse include:
- Caregiver stress
- Negative past relationship between elder and caregiver
- Drug or alcohol abuse by the caregiver
- Financial intimidation and extortion
- Living accommodations
- Elder with cognitive disorders
- Elder who behaves with difficulty
- Lack of caregiver experience
- Reluctance of the caregiver to tend to an elder’s needs
- High staff turnover rates
- Physically abusive or combative caregivers
- Caregiver indifference
Four Common Signs of Elder Abuse
It’s important to learn the common signs of elder abuse, so you can identify an issue early on. If you identify any of the below signs, it would be in your best interest to contact an attorney who has experience in Ohio elder abuse law. A lawyer will be able to guide you on the best course of action to get the elder adult to a safe environment. Below are the four most common signs of elder abuse:
- Unattended basic needs: Signs of malnutrition, dehydration, rapid weight loss, bedsores, an acceleration of a disease or mental illness, poor hygiene, and dirty or soiled clothing or bedding.
- Injuries or pain: Physical abuse can be seen by broken bones, bruising, cuts, welts, wounds, and burns. Restrainment marks on wrists and feet and signs of overmedication can also be signs of injuries or pain.
- Severe or excessive fall injuries: Facilities may fail to properly assess patients as fall risks or to incorporate proper fall precautions. An elderly individual’s fall can cause devastating injuries.
- A sudden change in emotion or cognitive abilities: When an elder experiences sexual or physical abuse, this can cause them to withdraw emotionally, act out in social environments, or completely withdraw from social contact.
- Minor to significant changes in financial accounts and records: Changes can usually see financial elder abuse in bank account figures, sudden changes to beneficiaries and insurance policies, and changes to living wills.
Potential Damages Received in an Elder Abuse Claim
Often after discovering your loved one has been a victim of elder abuse, you can experience immense financial and emotional strain. If it can be proven that your elderly loved one was suffering from elder abuse or neglect, you could have grounds to initiate an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. Should you opt to initiate a case, you could receive damages from the nursing home, insurance company, or person responsible for the abuse.
- Law enforcement investigation
- Various medical expenses
- Physical disfigurement
- Miscellaneous medical device expenses
- Various physical disability expenses
- Lost income or harm to family members
Contact an Ohio Lawyer to Discuss Your Elder Abuse Lawsuit
Elder abuse is a sensitive topic that has to be navigated delicately. No one deserves to be abused. If you suspect that an elder you know or love is being abused at home, in a hospital, or at a nursing home, you should consider hiring an Ohio attorney who has knowledge of elder abuse laws. At The Henry Law Firm, we have the necessary experience to help you examine your options. Regardless of whether you decide to file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit, we can help. Contact The Henry Law Firm as soon as you can to stop elder abuse in its tracks.