Now is as good a time as any to begin thinking carefully about how citizens can play a role in preventing nursing home abuse and elder neglect in Riverside County. According to a recent article in The Acorn, when seniors see their family members and friends more often, signs and symptoms of elder abuse may be more obvious. Once the holiday season ends, it is important to consider ways of helping ensure the safety and well-being of elderly loved ones. The article points citizens to the California Department of Justice’s “A Citizen’s Guide to Preventing and Reporting Elder Abuse.” The publication continues to provide helpful advice for Valley Center residents, and we want to discuss a few key features of the publication with you.
Why should citizens learn more about preventing elder abuse? As the publication points out, “it may take the courage of a caring family member, friend, or caretaker to take action when the victim may be reluctant.”
Recognize Where Elder Abuse can Occur
Southern Californians might not realize it, but elder abuse can occur in a wide variety of settings. When we talk about nursing home abuse, we are indeed referring to injuries that occur in skilled nursing facilities, but we are also pointing to abuse and neglect in assisted living facilities, residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFEs), and other places where seniors live. Indeed, physical and emotional elder abuse can even affect seniors in their own homes when caregivers—from family members to in-home nurses—perpetrate abuse.
Since elder abuse can occur almost anywhere, it is important to stay aware and to report suspicions. Whether you are visiting an older family member in a long-term care facility or are simply stopping by an elderly neighbor’s home, you should know that abuse or neglect can happen. In order to prevent abuse and to hold abusers accountable, citizens need to know the signs and symptoms of abuse.
Signs and Symptoms of Elder Abuse or Neglect
The signs and symptoms of elder abuse and neglect do not always look the same. Symptoms of emotional abuse often appear much differently than those of physical abuse. Likewise, signs of neglect often do not overlap with signs of physical or emotional abuse. As such, any warning sign should be a reason to report.
When you are visiting an elderly loved one, you should look for signs and symptoms of abuse and neglect. Any of the following signs or symptoms should be a reason to report, even if you are not certain that abuse or neglect is happening:
- Poor personal hygiene;
- Untreated medical conditions;
- Dehydration or malnourishment;
- Torn or bloody clothing;
- Unexplained bruises;
- Injuries that do not seem to match the explanation;
- Injuries that appear to have the outline of an object (like a belt or a hand);
- Withdrawn behavior;
- Fear; and
- Confusion or forgetfulness.
Contact a Riverside County Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Do you have concerns about an elderly friend or family member? Or do you need advice about filing a nursing home abuse claim? A dedicated Riverside County nursing home abuse attorney can assist you. Contact the Walton Law Firm for more information.
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(image courtesy of Fabrizio Verrecchia)