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Learn the Warning Signs and Help Prevent Elder Care Abuse

February 4th, 2015 Nursing Home Abuse
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When families make the decision to turn to an Elder Care facility to help look after their elderly parents or relatives, the first and most important factor to consider is whether or not the provider can be trusted to deliver diligent, patient and compassionate care.

In most cases professional nurses, doctors and nursing homes take great pride in their ability to look after elderly patients. However, there is a disturbingly persistent minority of Elder Care facilities that exploit, abuse and neglect the elderly patients that depend on them for assistance.

Elder Care Abuse is a very serious issue, especially in the state of New York. Recent Census data indicates that nearly 15% of New York’s citizens over the age of 65. With nearly 3 million senior citizens to look after, Elder Care is a large and growing industry. Before you make a decision with your elderly parent or loved one about how to handle their independent or live-in care, it is important to educate yourself on signs of Elder Care Abuse.

The World Health Organization defines Elder Abuse as: “a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person.” Elder Care Abuse can take many different forms, including:

– Physical Abuse: An intentional use of force that results in injury or bodily harm.
– Sexual Abuse: Non-consensual contact of any kind, including forced sexual contact.
– Emotional Abuse: Willing infliction of mental or emotional anguish through threats, intimidation, or humiliation.
– Active Neglect: A willful failure to deliver proper care to a patient. This can include abandonment, deprivation of food, water, clothing, heat or necessary medical treatment.
– Passive Neglect: Non-willful failure to deliver proper care. This can include inadequate knowledge of a patient’s medical history and failure to deliver necessary medication in a timely manner.
– Financial Exploitation: Improper use of an older adult’s funds, including embezzlement, forgery, falsifying records, coerced property transfers or denial of access to assets.

As with many other forms of abuse, there is a disturbing gap between the estimated number of cases and the amount of cases that are formally reported to the State’s social services system. In fact, one recent study indicated the following statistics about cases of Elder Care Abuse in New York:

– The incidence rate of Elder Abuse in New York State was nearly 24 times greater than the number of cases referred to social service or law enforcement.
– An estimated 260,000 older adults are victims of some form of Elder Abuse in New York State every year
– Financial Exploitation was the most prevalent form of Elder Abuse, reported at a rate of 41 per 1,000 participants surveyed. This rate was higher than reported cases of emotional, physical or sexual abuse or neglect.

If your parent or elderly relative is in a Nursing Home or Elder Care Community, keep an eye out for the following behaviors. While many victims do not report abuse themselves, recognizing these signs can help prevent or stop an abusive situation:

– Unexplained bruising or other physical injuries
– Lack of proper comforts or amenities in an elder’s home or living space
– Unexplained or dramatic weight loss
– Sudden or unexplained changes in an elder’s financial situation
– Sudden increase in feelings of depression and isolation, or sudden loss of interest in normal activities

Read more about warning signs of Elder Abuse here and call the Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect attorneys at Fellows Hymowitz if you suspect a parent or loved one is in an abusive or unsafe situation.

Our compassionate, experienced Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect attorneys will advocate for the elderly, protect their rights and hold wrongdoers accountable for their actions. At Fellows Hymowitz, we will fight from the start of your case to the finish to secure the maximum compensation for the mistreatment of a loved one.

Call Fellows Hymowitz today at 845-639-9300 for a FREE, no-obligation consultation with an experienced Elder Care and Nursing Home Abuse attorney.

Fellows Hymowitz, PC – The Right Lawyers Make a Real Difference.

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