Elder abuse can occur anytime and anywhere and has affected millions of Americans across the nation. Elder abuse comes in various forms, but typically involves a caregiver or individual failing to provide care or causing harm to a senior citizen. For senior citizens that reside in Atlanta and have been victims of nursing home abuse, the nursing home abuse attorneys at the Eichholz Law Firm are available to help.
Due to improvements in late-life care and modern medicine, life expectancy has increased, which can be partially attributed to the rise of elder abuse. Growing populations of older adults also increase the likelihood of elder abuse.
With older adults at higher risk of experiencing cognitive decline and physical ailments, they are extremely vulnerable because they may also lack the ability to report abuse by their caretakers. Though there is a lack in reporting of elder abuse, those who have experienced abuse at nursing homes or by family members have recourse. Knowing about the types of elder abuse can help you potentially file a lawsuit and get the justice you deserve.
Elder Abuse Definition & Types
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Elder abuse is an intentional act or failure to act, by a caregiver or another person that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult.” The CDC defines an older adult as an individual who is 60 years or older. Though most people assume elder abuse is only bodily harm inflicted on an older adult, the CDC reports at least five different ways older adults can be abused. Those five, common ways are listed below :
Physical abuse involves the intentional use of physical force on an older adult, which results in bodily harm, pain, illness, impairment, or death. Examples of physical abuse include hitting, pinching, scratching, biting, choking, stomping, suffocation, shaking, and burning.
Sexual abuse can occur at any age. If an older adult is forced into an unwanted sexual interaction, they have been sexually abused. The CDC lists several scenarios of sexual abuse among the elderly. One example could be inappropriately touching the older adult’s genitalia, while another example could be penetration of another person by an object.
Remember that sexual abuse can also happen to someone who is not capable or competent to give consent.
In some cases, an older adult could be psychologically or emotionally abused by a caretaker or family member. This includes verbal or nonverbal actions that cause mental pacing, anguish, fear, and distress to an older adult. Examples of psychological and emotional abuse include name-calling, bullying, isolation from friends, restricting communication, or threatening bodily harm.
The negligence of a caretaker or family member can also be regarded as elder abuse. Often, a caretaker’s responsibility is to ensure an older adult is free from harm and receives essentials, such as food and medicine. Failure to provide adequate care — whether intentional or accidental — can result in serious injury to an older adult.
According to the CDC, examples of negligence include “not providing adequate nutrition, hygiene, clothing, shelter, or access to necessary health care; or failure to prevent exposure to unsafe activities and environments.”
If a caregiver or family member illegally or improperly uses an older adult’s resources to benefit someone other than the older individual, they are causing financial abuse. If a nursing home worker tries to use coercion or deception to take money from an older adult, they are engaging in financial abuse. In some cases, an older adult may not even have the mental wherewithal to make sound financial decisions.
Statistics on Elderly Abuse
Tracking cases of elder abuse have proven to be a difficult task, especially since it is often poorly or narrowly defined. Countless examples of elder abuse go unreported every year, with the National Center on Elder Abuse reporting that elder abuse may be missed by professionals working with older adults because they may be unaware or lack vital training. Older adults may also be reluctant or unable to report abuse for various reasons.
Even with the number of unreliable reports, studies have attempted to track the prevalence of elder abuse in the United States.
A 2015 study estimated that one in 10 older adults were subjected to at least one of the five main types of abuse, while a New York-based study estimated that one in 13 older adults in the state had been victims of elder abuse in the past year.
According to a few studies, nursing homes are also plagued by elder abuse. An early 2000s report from the Minority Staff of the Special Investigations Division of the House Committee on Government Reform found that almost a third of all certified facilities had received a citation for an abuse violation.
How to Use the Elderly Abuse Hotline
Elder abuse is more common than we think and should be put to an end. Fortunately, there are steps you can follow if you suspect elder abuse.
If you or someone else is in imminent danger, call the police or 9-1-1. If the danger is not grave, several hotlines will help connect victims or family members to the appropriate agency.
The best resource for finding a number to report abuse or mistreatment is the National Center on Elder Abuse. The site has a map that allows you to find the best number to call in each state, whether it’s the state’s department of aging or adult protective services.
File a Lawsuit with an Atlanta Elder Abuse Lawyer Today
Atlanta is a densely populated city, being the 39th most populous city in the U.S. Although this city is vibrant with history and culture and contains several history museums and outdoor attractions, Atlanta has seen its fair share of abuse and mistreatment of senior citizens. In fact, there have been incidents of negligent nursing homes and physical abuse on ill patients.
Atlanta residents can get an expert elder and nursing home abuse lawyer through the Eichholz Law Firm. Whether you’re being abused or have an older relative who is being abused, our lawyers can help you take the proper course of action and get you the justice and compensation you deserve. Contact the Eichholz Law Firm today to get a lawyer on your case.