Many people here in Birmingham have older relatives who use residential facilities to help with every day care. When those family members require this level of help, we place an incredible amount of trust in the staff of those care centers to properly care for those in residency and treat them with the level of respect they deserve. Unfortunately, there are situations where residents are subjected to less than acceptable circumstances and care.
Elder abuse is a serious problem, and it is important to know what it is and the possible warning signs. According to the National Council on Aging, there are a number of different areas that can constitute elder abuse. For example, physical abuse is the infliction of injury or pain directly to the elder. But, there are other less direct manners of abuse. Willful deprivation, which is purposefully denying a patient something they need, is abuse. So, too, is unnecessarily confining a person – whether by restraint or by something like isolating in a room. Sexual abuse, emotional abuse and even passive neglect are also ways in which these facilities and their employees can harm those in their care.
Sadly, estimates suggest about 10% of all people over the age of 60 have experienced some level of elder abuse, which can lead to a much higher risk of death. Cases involving financial exploitation – another less obvious form of elder abuse – lead to billions of dollars worth of losses each year.
Elder abuse and neglect is never acceptable, especially when they occur in facilities whose purpose is to see to the well-being of those in their care. When this abuse does occur, victims and their families can take civil legal action to gain compensation and hold those in the wrong accountable. Understanding the process by talking with experienced counsel is an important first step on the path to recovery.