Unfortunately, some of society’s most vulnerable are often neglected and abused. Elderly people in California, and elsewhere, are commonly mistreated by those charged with their care, including nursing home staff and family members. People frequently ask us at The Dolan Law Firm what they can do to keep their loved ones safe. In this post, we will give you some tips to help protect those you care about from elder abuse.
One of the most important things you can do to help keep your loved ones safe is to know the signs of elder mistreatment. In addition to obvious, unexplainable physical injuries, there are a number of other signs that a person is being neglected or abused. According to the California Department of Justice, some common signs of elder mistreatment include the following:
- Poor hygiene or skin condition
- Untreated medical conditions
- Unexplainable dehydration or malnourishment
- Unusual confusion, depression or withdrawal
By knowing what to watch out for, you may be more likely to identify abuse if it occurs. Since mistreatment commonly escalates, this can be important in order to ensure any abuse that occurs is immediately caught and stopped.
Particularly if your loved one is in a nursing home, varying the days and times of your visits can be helpful. If you always visit at the same time and on the same day, the nursing home staff may be able to hide evidence of abuse or neglect. By changing up when you visit, however, you may catch abuse or neglect that was otherwise hidden. It may also encourage staff members to provide your loved one with the care he or she deserves.
Any time you suspect abuse has, or is, occurring, it is important that you report it right away. According to the California Department of Consumer Affairs, you may contact your county’s Adult Protective Services agency, the state’s Department of Health Services’ Licensing and Certification Program, your long-term care ombudsman’s office or the Attorney General of California’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse with your suspicions. If immediate or emergency assistance is needed, you should contact your local law enforcement agency.