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What are the common types and signs of elder abuse?

One of the most difficult decisions a family in Pennsylvania and across the nation is to place an elderly loved one in a nursing home. This can be for a number of reasons from an inability to care for the person or due to finances. While most facilities care for their patients well, nursing home patients are extremely vulnerable to various forms of abuse by nursing home staff. It is imperative that families know how to recognize nursing home abuse so it can be stopped.

There are six different categories of elder abuse. They are physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, neglect, and financial. With physical abuse, the victim will be subjected to pain, illness or injury from being hit, kicked, punched, slapped or burned. Sexual abuse involves unwanted sexual acts on an older person. Emotional and psychological abuse can involve causing fear, distress, worry, humiliation, and the keeping of the residents from seeing loved ones and friends. Financial abuse will involve stealing from the person in any way.

These forms of abuse can affect an elderly person in a variety of ways. There can be minor or major injuries. Evidence could be scratches, bruises and cuts. It could be bedsores, a decline in health for unknown and unclear reasons, or it can be as serious as broken bones, soreness and the elder person showing signs of pain. Some forms of abuse can lead to the person's death. Emotionally, the person can decline through fear and trepidation of their treatment.

In many instances, the elderly person is afraid to report the abuse due to worry that it will not be stopped and may in fact grow worse. People who have a loved on in a nursing care facility or might be abused by a caregiver brought into the home need to be cognizant of the signs and know how to recognize when medical professionals might not be treating elders properly. When there is elder abuse or nursing home neglect suspected, speaking to a legal professional experienced in pursuing litigation is a wise decision to achieve justice.

Source: cdc.gov, "Understanding Elder Abuse," accessed on Dec. 23, 2015

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