While it seems unconscionable to the average person, some people intentionally target the elderly for abuse and mistreatment. Elder abuse takes on many forms, from insulting language and verbal threats, to actual physical violence. Some seniors are also subjected to financial abuse, which can even occur at the hands of family members and friends.
If you have an elderly loved one in your life and you suspect the person is being mistreated, swift action is a must. Fast action is needed to prevent the senior from experiencing more abuse, as well as to stop their finances from being depleted. Here are steps you can take if you suspect someone you love is being abused.
Keep in mind that people being abused are usually reluctant to talk about what’s happening to them. However, talking to your loved one can still provide insight so you can take the next steps. Pay attention to their demeanor: do they appear fearful when around the alleged abuser? Are they anxious and depressed when they weren’t before? Has their personal appearance taken a turn for the worse?
If your loved one is bedridden and being cared for by another person or nursing home staff, pay attention to injuries and illness. People who are bedridden have a greater risk of bedsores, but they can be prevented by changing bedding and clothing, moving the person around, making sure wounds are properly cleaned and bandaged, etc. If your loved one constantly experiences bedsores, or suffers from unexplainable bruises and lacerations, the level of care being provided is not sufficient.
Finally, discuss the person’s finances. Are they having a hard time paying bills? Are they in danger of having utilities shut off? Are they making lots of purchases when they didn’t in the past? Is there a new person in their life who attempts to keep your loved one from friends and family? These occurrences should be taken as red flags, especially for someone who lives on a fixed budget.
If you believe your loved one is in direct danger, law enforcement must be involved. That way you can arrange for the person to find alternate accommodations until the issue can be investigated. If the person is being abused by a family member or someone they live with, you can also contact Adult Protective Services in your area. From there, a welfare visit will be conducted to determine whether your loved one is living in poor conditions and should be removed.
If you have concerns about a person living in a nursing home, any issues should be addressed with administrators immediately. Nursing homes are beholden to certain laws to protect residents. As a result, a facility can be shut down for specific violations, so administrators should take immediate action to investigate. If the proper actions aren’t taken, file a complain with the New Mexico Department of Health.
If your loved one experiences serious injuries as a result of elder abuse, legal action is the right course to take. To ensure the person’s best interests remain protected, you must work with a law form that has experience with elder abuse.
Our attorneys at Martinez, Hart, Sanchez & Romero, P.C. have spent the last three decades rigorously preserving the rights of the vulnerable throughout Albuquerque. We can help you take action against nursing homes and individuals suspected of elder abuse. We pursue these cases not because we’re interested in earning a profit, but because we believe protecting the vulnerable is the right thing to do.