Do you have a parent or elderly relative or neighbor being care for in their home by someone? Finding an in home caregiver you can trust isn’t always easy, but it is extremely important. It might be comforting for your loved one to remain in their own home, but there are factors you need to be aware of to make sure they are being cared for properly.

Elder abuse is defined as causing physical or emotional harm to an older person. The majority of these cases are caused by caregivers who the family and victim thought they could trust. It doesn’t matter if it is a single or a recurring incident, it is still abuse.

Elder abuse is a far too common problem in home care settings. It affects thousands of our seniors across the country every year. Because some patients are not always able to communicate the abuse, the problem is thought to be highly under reported.

There are many types of abuse, including physical, emotional, neglect, sexual, abandonment and financial. Emotional abuse can be one of the more difficult forms of abuse to detect because it might not offer an obvious signs, but using verbal threats and insults or even ignoring a senior, is a form of abuse.

If you have a neighbor or loved one you are concerned about, there are some signs and symptoms you should look for.

Changes in physical appearance

• Check in to make sure your loved one is not losing weight
• Make sure they are keeping up with their personal hygiene
• Do they have any bruises or bed sores or any other unexplained injuries?
• Make sure they are alert and not overly sedated

Behavioral changes

• Do they seem anxious or fearful?
• Do they seem withdrawn and less talkative?
• Do they suddenly seem to not want company or visitors?
• Are they acting out or seem angry?

Pay attention to changes in the home

• Are items missing without explanation?
• Have finances changed? Are bills being paid?
• Are there any unexpected or unusual guests staying at the house that don’t seem to belong?

It can often be difficult to determine if abuse is occurring. Victims not only are sometimes incapable of reporting such incidents, but are often not believed when they do. If you think you see any signs of abuse, ask specific questions of your loved one and if you don’t feel assured that they are in good care, get help right away. If you feel it’s an emergency, call 911. For non-emergency situations you can call your local adult protection services agency and they will send someone out to investigate.

Elders have the right to be treated with respect and to be safe from physical and mental abuse and to have their possessions and finances secure. If you feel these rights have been violated, you have the right to seek compensation and hold those involved in the abuse accountable.

Call Collis & Griffor, PC today at 734.827.1337 or fill out our form to set up an appointment for a free consultation.

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