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Personal injury: Concern about prevalence of elder abuse

On Behalf of | Nov 8, 2018 | personal injury

Anyone in North Carolina with elderly loved ones might dread the day that those seniors need around-the-clock care. Personal injury reports such as the one in which the Senate Special Committee on Aging reported that approximately five million seniors are elder abuse or neglect victims each year are concerning. In addition, it was reported that the National Center on Elder Abuse said studies indicate that between 3 and 5 percent of senior citizens in the United States have suffered some form of abuse.

Sadly, the prevalence of these incidents is rising, and many cases go unreported. Some signs of elder abuse or neglect are more obvious than others, and visitors to loved ones in nursing homes need to be alert to telltale signs. Elderly patients with dementia and cognitive impairment appear to be mostly targeted by abusers because they are so vulnerable.

Abuse comes in different forms, and unexplained injuries might indicate physical abuse, while dirty clothes, unusual weight loss and bedsores could be signs of neglect. Emotional and verbal abuse are difficult to spot, and it might be wise to look for symptoms of withdrawal, apathy, fear and nervousness, which, along with bruising on  intimate body parts, could also indicate sexual abuse. Then there is financial exploitation that can only be picked up by careful monitoring of bank accounts, credit card statements and caregivers turning into financial advisers.

This matter must be addressed as soon as there is even the slightest suspicion of abuse. Anyone in North Carolina who has questions about the best way to protect an elderly loved one might find answers by consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney. The lawyer can assess the circumstances, assist with investigations and explain the legal options. He or she can then provide the necessary support and guidance throughout any ensuing legal proceedings.