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Elder Abuse Signs

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 500,000 elderly Americans fall victim to abuse or neglect every year. Unfortunately, this statistic is likely to be an underestimate because many victims are unable or afraid to tell the police, family or friends about the abuse. A New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study found that for every case known to programs and agencies, 24 go unknown. This is a scary statistic. How can we trust our elderly loved one to someone else when there are so many cases of abuse reported every year? For starters, it’s always best to educate yourself.

Below are signs that your elderly loved one may be abused or neglected in their current nursing home, assisted living facility, dementia care unit, or group home.

Warning signs of physical abuse:
-Unexplained marks on your loved one, such as bruises, scars, scratches or welts (particularly if they appear symmetrically on both sides of the body)
-Broken bones, sprains, or disclocations
-Drug overdose or failure to take medication (you can track this by how many pills are left in the bottle)
-Broken glasses
-Signs of being restrained such as rope marks on wrists or fingerprints
-Caregiver’s refusal to allow you to see your elderly loved one alone
-Eldely loved one fears a particular caregiver

Warning signs of emotional abuse:
-Threatening, belittling or controlling caregiver behavior that you witness
-Behavior from your loved one that mimics dementia, such as rocking, sucking, or mumbling to oneself
-Excessive crying, especially without explanation or known cause
-Social isolation
-Damaging or destroying property
-Disregarding or trivializing needs

Warning signs of sexual abuse:
-Bruising around breasts or genitals
-Unexplained venereal disease, genital infections, vaginal or anal bleeding
-Torn, stained, or bloody undergarments

Warning signs of neglect:
-Unusual weight loss, malnutrition, or dehydration
-Untreated physical problems, such as bedsores
-Unsanitary living conditions such as dirt, bugs, soiled bedding or clothing
-Dirty or unbathed loved one
-Clothing that’s not suitable for current weather conditions
-Unsafe living conditions such as no heat or running water, fire hazards, etc..
-Desertion of the elder at a public place

Warning signs of financial exploitation:
-Significant and unusual withdrawals from the elder’s accounts
-Items or cash missing
-Suspicious changes in wills, power of attorney, titles, and policies
-Addition of names to the senior’s signature card
-Unpaid bills or lack of medical care
-Unnecessary or abnormal services, goods, or subscriptions (based on your loved one’s habits or current situation)
-Use of coercion or deception to surrender finances or property

If you have noticed any of the signs above, there are many places you can go for help. If the situation is serious, threatening, or dangerous, call 911 or the local police for immediate help. To report suspected elder abuse, neglect or exploitation in a home or long-term care facility in Arizona, call 1-877-767-2385.

You can also seek help from the following state government agencies:
Arizona Adult Protective Services
Arizona Division of Aging and Adult Services
Arizona Long Term Care Obudsman
Arizona Office of Attorney General
Arizona Office of Long Term Care Licensing (Nursing Homes)

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The personal injury attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona, at Knapp & Roberts have the compassion and trial lawyer skills to tell your story to a jury. We will get to know you and your family so that we can help the jury understand what has happened to you and your family and how it has changed your lives. Obtain the compensation necessary for the injuries and losses you have suffered.