How to Recognize & Prevent Elder Abuse in Atlanta

While there are many pros and cons to aging, a common theme among the elderly population is an increasing dependence on others to meet their basic needs and care for their overall well-being. In many cases, it can be necessary for families to look beyond blood relations by seeking outside care from an assisted living facility or nursing home. These facilities are entrusted with the care and well-being of our elderly family members.

Although many nursing home facilities can be a wonderful means of helping a loved one maintain their dignity, agency, and quality of life while aging, nursing home abuse is an increasing topic of concern for many U.S. families. In fact, 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 60 have experienced some form of elder abuse. In this blog, we’ll review the key signs of nursing home abuse to equip families with the knowledge and resources to recognize misconduct and take swift legal action to prevent it.

Types of Nursing Home Abuse in Florida

Nursing home abuse can manifest in countless ways. If you or an aging loved one are transitioning to alternative measures of care, it’s essential to understand different types of elder abuse to recognize harmful behaviors and take the appropriate steps to prevent them. According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), there are various types of elder abuse, including:

  • Physical Abuse – Touch or contact used to harm an elderly individual, such as hitting, pushing, or slapping
  • Sexual Abuse – Any non-consensual sexual contact, advances, or activities imposed upon an elderly resident by staff members, other residents, or any other person within the facility
  • Emotional Abuse – The intentional infliction of emotional or psychological distress on elderly individuals, such as using harsh, demeaning, or threatening language, insults and ridicule, belittling, shaming, gaslighting, etc.
  • Confinement – Forcibly restraining an elderly person through the use of physical force or devices for non-medical reasons
  • Passive Neglect – Failing to meet an elderly adult’s basic life needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, and medical care
  • Willful Deprivation – Exposing an elderly person to physical, mental, or emotional harm by denying their needs, such as medication, therapeutic devices, or other means of assisted living
  • Financial Exploitation – the unauthorized or improper use of an elderly person’s financial resources or assets for personal gain or the gain of another individual or entity

10 Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Recognizing common red flags of nursing home abuse is crucial to protecting the health and safety of elderly loved ones, regardless of the facility or home they are in. Consider these telltale signs of nursing home abuse in Georgia:

  1. Unexplained Injuries: Frequent bruises, cuts, fractures, or burns without a reasonable explanation may indicate physical abuse.
  2. Changes in Behavior: Sudden mood swings, social withdrawal, fearfulness, or signs of distress can be indicators of emotional abuse.
  3. Unexplained Weight Loss: Drastic weight loss or malnutrition may suggest neglectful abuse, where the individual is not receiving proper nourishment.
  4. Signs of restraint: Marks or injuries on wrists or ankles may indicate improper use of restraints, which is a form of physical abuse.
  5. Unsanitary Living Conditions: Dirty living spaces, lack of hygiene, or unattended medical needs may signify neglectful abuse.
  6. Changes in Financial Status: Sudden changes in the older person’s financial situation, missing belongings, or unauthorized transactions may point to financial exploitation.
  7. Isolation: Restricting the elderly person’s access to visitors or preventing them from communicating freely could be a sign of abuse.
  8. Fear or Avoidance: If the individual appears fearful or avoids certain staff members or areas of the facility, it could indicate a history of abuse.
  9. Inadequate Staffing: Insufficient staffing levels, high turnover rates, or untrained personnel can contribute to an environment ripe for abuse.
  10. Lack of Proper Supervision: Failure to monitor and supervise residents adequately can lead to accidents, falls, or other preventable injuries.

7 Steps to Take if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home abuse is a distressing reality that affects vulnerable individuals in our society. If you suspect nursing home abuse, it is crucial to take immediate action to protect your loved one and ensure their well-being. Below are 7 steps to take if you suspect nursing home abuse in Atlanta:

  1. Secure representation from a qualified attorney: It’s crucial to secure experienced representation from a trusted nursing home abuse attorney as soon as possible if you suspect or know about elder abuse. Your lawyer can use their specialized knowledge and legal skillset to guide your steps wisely.
  2. Gather evidence: A qualified lawyer can help fortify your case with sufficient evidence by collecting relevant proof of the nursing home abuse, such as important documentation, medical records, and witness statements. Keep in mind that the mere existence of evidence isn’t a guarantee of success in court. It’s essential to work with a seasoned legal representative who can help strengthen your claims by presenting compelling evidence.
  3. Report the abuse: It’s imperative to contact the appropriate authorities to report the suspected abuse, such as adult protective services, law enforcement agencies, or state regulatory bodies responsible for overseeing nursing homes. Be prepared to provide all the evidence you’ve collected and follow their instructions on how to proceed.
  4. Request a thorough investigation: Ask the regulatory agency or law enforcement to conduct a thorough investigation into the allegations of abuse. This will help ensure that all parties involved are held accountable and that proper measures are taken to prevent further harm to your loved one and others in the facility.
  5. Locate a safe facility for your loved one: If nursing home abuse is confirmed or suspected, it’s important to establish a safe and caring environment for your loved one. Consider researching other facilities, visiting them in person, and thoroughly reviewing their policies, staff qualifications, and reputation.

Preventing nursing home abuse requires taking swift and decisive action. By seeking sound counsel, documenting evidence, and filing a detailed report, Georgia residents can protect themselves and elderly family members from preventable harm.

Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Atlanta

The Mabrey Firm is dedicated to protecting the abused and wrongfully injured in Atlanta and beyond. Our seasoned personal injury lawyer has over 30 years of experience advocating on behalf of those who once felt silenced, empowering them to heal and move on to healthier, happier lives. From wrongful death claims to birth injuries to medical malpractice, our knowledgeable nursing home abuse attorney is here to fight for the maximum compensation you and your loved ones deserve during this difficult time.

If you or a loved one was a victim of nursing home abuse, call (404) 841-4991 to schedule a free consultation with our trusted Georgia attorney.

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