Dispelling Misconceptions Surrounding Elder Abuse and Neglect
Whether you are beginning to speak with an elderly loved one about the possibility of nursing home care, or if you already have a parent who resides in a nursing facility, you may have heard some common myths about elder abuse and neglect. According to an article in Forbes, most Americans do not fully grasp the complexity of nursing home abuse situations, and as such they are not always aware of common signs or symptoms of abuse or neglect. By gaining a greater understanding of some of the misconceptions surrounding elder abuse, you can help to ensure that your elderly loved one is receiving quality care.
What are some of the common myths?
- Elder abuse is always obvious: You might have heard that the signs and symptoms of physical abuse are readily apparent, but this is not always the case. The article cites Kate Wilber, a gerontology professor at the University of Southern California, who explains that physical abuse cases are not so simple. As Wilber clarifies, “people can twist somebody’s arm or something and leave no marks.” In addition, many family members assume that small bruises or other physical signs are related simply to the aging process or to an accidental fall.
- Nursing home residents will always tell someone when they are being victimized: A common misconception concerning elder abuse is that, as long as a senior says he or she has not been the victim of elder abuse, then no elder abuse has occurred. More often than not, nursing home residents who have been the victims of abuse or neglect deny such facts. In some cases, residents could suffer from dementia and simply not realize that they have been victimized. In other cases, seniors are scared to speak up out of fear of retaliation by the perpetrator.
Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Elder Abuse
What are some of the most common signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse? A fact sheet from WebMD cites the following:
- Any unexplained cuts, bruises, burns, or incidents of bleeding;
- Fractures or broken bones;
- Injuries that happen more than once;
- Injuries for which a senior does not want to seek medical attention;
- Unexplained changes in a senior’s behavior;
- Acting withdrawn or scared;
- Depression, confusion, or general loss of interest in hobbies and activities;
- Having trouble sleeping;
- Losing weight suddenly and without other known causes; and
If you have questions about nursing home abuse and are seeking help for your elderly loved one, you should discuss your situation with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer.