The 1.4 million elderly individuals who reside in nursing homes in Texas and across the nation represent a portion of the population that is particularly susceptible to abuse and neglect. It is not difficult to recognize nursing home abuse when there are bruises, cuts or other physical signs of abuse on the body of an elderly resident. But other types of abuse prove more difficult to detect.
Types of abuse to watch for
There are seven types of abuse identified by the National Center on Elder Abuse from which elder citizens need protection.
1. Physical abuse is the use of force to inflict pain or bodily injury upon another individual. Common acts of physical abuse include hitting, pushing, shaking, slapping and kicking.
2. Sexual abuse includes non-consensual sexual contact of every type with the elderly resident. These offenses include coerced nudity, soliciting sexual images, unwanted touching and all forms of sexual battery.
3. Psychological or emotional abuse is the use of verbal or nonverbal actions to cause the elderly resident emotional pain or mental anguish. These acts include threats, intimidation, insults, harassment and humiliation.
4. Financial abuse involves the exploitation of money and assets possessed by the resident. Actions that can constitute financial abuse include stealing or misappropriating funds, cashing checks without permission and forging the signature of the individual on a financial instrument.
5. Neglect occurs when a person responsible for the needs of a resident of a nursing home does not fulfill these obligations. This neglect can mean not providing life essentials like food, shelter, clothing, water, medicine and other things to the resident.
6. Abandonment happens when the person caring for a nursing home resident deserts their post without fulfilling their responsibilities. It can lead to the ill effects of neglect.
7. Self-neglect is a type of abuse that an elderly individual inflicts on themselves. This behavior is a conscious decision by the person to engage in acts that will harm their health and well-being. These actions can include denying food, water, shelter, medication or hygiene to themselves.
Do not ignore the signs
The elderly population in America will continue to grow over the next few decades. An unfortunate prediction is that the corresponding increase in nursing home populations could lead to a rise in reported abuse of nursing home residents. Families with a loved one who suffers mistreatment in a nursing home may be able to remedy the situation with the help of an experienced attorney.