Elder abuse affects millions of Americans across the nation and can happen at any time. Elder abuse comes in different forms, but often involves a caregiver or individual failing to provide care or causing harm to a senior citizen. Senior citizens in Savannah that have experienced nursing home and elder abuse can contact the Eichholz Law Firm.
With modern medicine and late-life care improving, life expectancy has increased, which has unfortunately attributed to the rise of elder abuse. Growing populations of older adults also attribute to the increasing occurrence of elder abuse.
With older adults at higher risk of experiencing cognitive decline and physical ailments, they may lack the ability to report abuse by their caretakers and are, therefore, highly susceptible to it. Though there is a lack in reporting of elder abuse, those who have experienced abuse by family members or at nursing homes have recourse. Knowing about the different types of elder abuse can help you potentially file a lawsuit and get the justice you deserve.
Elder Abuse Definition & Types
As stated by 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 describes an older adult as an individual who is 60 years or older. Though most people think of elder abuse as bodily harm inflicted on an older adult, the CDC reports there are at least five different ways older adults can be abused. Those five ways are:
Physical abuse involves the intentional use of physical force on an older adult, resulting in pain, bodily harm, illness, impairment, or death. Examples of physical abuse include scratching, hitting, pinching, choking, biting, stomping, suffocation, shaking, and burning.
Sexual abuse can occur at any age. If an older adult is coerced into an unwanted sexual interaction, they have been sexually abused. The CDC lists multiple scenarios of sexual abuse among the elderly. One example could include an individual exposing themselves to an elderly person, while another example could consist of forced intercourse.
Sexual abuse can also happen to someone who is not capable or competent to give consent.
Older adults may also be psychologically or emotionally abused by a caretaker or family member. This includes verbal or nonverbal actions that cause fear, anguish mental pacing, and distress to an older adult. Examples of psychological and emotional abuse include bullying, name-calling, isolation from friends, restricting communication, or threatening bodily harm.
A caretaker or family member’s negligence can also be regarded as elder abuse. One of the primary responsibilities of a caretaker 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 cause serious injury to an older adult.
As stated by 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.”
A caregiver or family member’s illegal or improper use of an older adult’s resources can be considered as financial abuse. If a nursing home worker attempts to use coercion or deception to take money from an older adult, they are engaging in financial abuse. In some situations, an older adult may not even have the mental wherewithal to make sound financial decisions.
Statistics on Elderly Abuse
With elder abuse cases often being poorly or narrowly defined, tracking cases of elder abuse is quite difficult. Multiple cases of elder abuse go unreported every year, with the National Center on Elder Abuse stating that elder abuse may go undetected 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 a variety of reasons.
Though there are many unreliable reports, studies have attempted to track the prevalence of elder abuse in the United States.
A 2015 study suggested 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 indicated 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 typically linked to elder abuse. An early 2000s report from the Minority Staff of the Special Investigations Division of the House Committee on Government Reform found that approximately a third of all certified facilities had received a citation for an abuse violation.
How to Use the Elderly Abuse Hotline
With elder abuse being an unfortunately common occurrence, there are steps you can follow if you suspect elder abuse.
If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call the police or 9-1-1. If the threat is not severe, there are several hotlines to 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 lets you see the best number to call in each state, whether it’s the state’s department of aging or adult protective services.
Get a Savannah Elder Abuse Lawyer On Your Side
Savannah is Georgia’s fifth largest city and is a culturally diverse and economically booming place to live. Unfortunately, like any city, the historic city of Savannah has seen its fair share of elder abuse incidents.
Savannah residents can also reach out to the Eichholz Law Firm for a credible elder abuse lawyer. Our Savannah elder abuse attorneys can provide you with professional legal counsel and get you the compensation you deserve. Call the Eichholz Law Firm today for a Savannah attorney.