Elder abuse in nursing homes in San Diego County takes many different forms, and certain types of abuse or neglect can often be more difficult to identify than others. While physical abuse commonly produces signs of more obvious physical injuries, signs of sexual abuse may not be as apparent to a friend or family member visiting an elderly loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility. While it can be difficult to think about sexual abuse and sexual violence occurring in nursing home settings, it is critical to remember that sexual abuse of elderly nursing home residents occurs more often than many people suspect, and it can have physical and psychological consequences.
What are signs of sexual abuse to look for if you have concerns about an elderly loved one’s safety in a San Diego County nursing home? Consider some of the following signs and symptoms identified by the National Council on Aging (NCOA), and be sure to contact an experienced San Diego nursing home abuse lawyer if you notice any of them when you visit an elderly relative at a skilled nursing facility or residential care facility for the elderly.
Understanding Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes
Sexual abuse in nursing homes, not unlike sexual harassment and sexual violence outside the nursing home setting, can take different forms, including but not limited to:
- Unwelcome sexual touching or contact;
- Sexual contact or touching of a nursing home resident who does not have the capacity to consent due to dementia or another type of cognitive impairment); and/or
- Forcing a nursing home patient to undress in a sexual context.
Sexual abuse can be perpetrated by staff members or employees of a facility, as well as by other residents of the facility. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities have a duty to prevent and address sexual abuse in any context.
Emotional Symptoms of Elder Sexual Abuse
Elder sexual abuse that occurs in nursing homes or assisted living facilities often has emotional or behavioral symptoms, according to the NCOA. It is important to be aware that any of the following could be indications that an elderly loved one has been the victim of sexual abuse:
- Unexplained anxiety, depression, or agitation;
- Fear of or discomfort around a particular employee or person;
- Loss of interest in usual activities;
- Sleeping disturbances;
- Eating or meal disturbances; and/or
- Fear or agitation when a physician or other health care provider, for medical purposes, touches genital areas or the mouth.
Physical Symptoms of Elder Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse among elderly nursing home residents can also have many different physical symptoms, such as:
- Bleeding or bruises around the genital areas or breasts or mouth;
- Ripped or bloodied undergarments;
- Unexplained sexually transmitted infections; and/or
- Painful urination or bowel movements.
The NCOA underscores that signs of sexual abuse and other forms of nursing home abuse are not always easy to identify, but it is important to seek help when you have any concerns or spot any potential signs of concern.
Contact a San Diego County Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Today
Sexual abuse is devastating in any circumstance, and it can be particularly heinous in cases involving elderly residents of nursing homes in Southern California. If you have any concerns about sexual abuse or another form of nursing home abuse, it is important to seek legal help. One of the experienced San Diego County nursing home abuse attorneys at our firm can discuss your concerns with you today. Contact the Walton Law Firm today for more information about the services we provide to elderly nursing home residents and their families in Southern California.
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