Preventing Elder Neglect – Know The Signs
Elder abuse is a “catch all” term that includes physical, sexual or emotional abuse of an elderly person, or taking advantage of their financial assets. It can also take the form of neglect by a caregiver or family member.
Older adults are targeted because they are perceived as being vulnerable. In many cases, the victims of elder abuse and neglect suffer from mental or physical disability, and are often reliant on others to meet their day-to-day needs. Individuals that are socially isolated are also more likely to be subject to abuse, as they interact with few people other than their abusers, and are less able to reach out for assistance.
What is “elder neglect”?
Elder abuse usually involves a harmful action by someone else. Elder neglect, on the other hand, involves a failure to meet the basic needs of an older person. It happens at the hands of family members, doctors, friends and caregivers, and in most cases the victim is known to the abuser.
Elder neglect can be either active or passive on the part of the perpetrator. Passive neglect is a failure to provide appropriate services and care, due to any lack of skills, time or ability to do so. Active neglect, on the other hand, involves a deliberate denial of services and care to an older person.
Some of the signs of elder neglect
Whether it is active or passive, elder neglect can lead to serious health issues. Some of the warning signs of neglect include:
- Weight loss or malnutrition, and the absence of necessities including food
- Being unsuitably dressed for the weather or conditions
- Lack of medical devices or missing medications
- Unusually messy or unsanitary living conditions
- Decline in personal hygiene
- Any untreated medical conditions or delay in seeking medical treatment
- Housing in a state of disrepair or otherwise hazardous condition
- Worsening health conditions and cognitive decline
- Signs of emotional distress such as lack of sleep, depression, self-harm or emotional withdrawal
Support for victims of elder abuse and neglect
If you are concerned about someone close to you, speak to them about elder neglect and visit frequently to check in. If your concerns are not allayed, consider speaking with a lawyer experienced in elder neglect and abuse cases.
At Derfel Injury Law, we offer compassionate support and legal advice to families dealing with the impact of elder neglect. Our dedicated lawyers can help you understand your options, and pursue compensation for the harms inflicted on your loved one.