When most people hear about elder abuse taking place in a nursing home or care facility, the first thing that comes to mind is physical abuse by a facility employee. Horrific images of senior citizens being slapped, tied to their beds, or suffering varying degrees of bodily harm are easy to imagine. The American Public Health Association (APHA) estimates that thousands, if not millions, of elderly people suffer some sort of physical cruelty every year. But only 1 in 14 of these instances is ever reported. While physical acts of violence are severely under-reported, the emotional impact of such terror is almost never recorded.
In 2010, the National Center on Elder Abuse calculated that of the nearly 6 million reported cases of elder abuse, emotional abuse only accounted for about 9% of the total. This covers a wide variety of potential abuses, including humiliation, ridicule, forced isolation, neglect, and intimidation of a senior citizen. Many experts suspect that the rate of emotional abuse in nursing homes is probably much higher, but the lack of visible scars or trauma makes such abuse hard to spot.
Elder Abuse Warning Signs
So if you have a loved one in a nursing or rehabilitation facility, you should keep an eye out for any potential emotional red flags that may indicate some type of mental stress. Signs of elder abuse often include:
- Lack of sleep
- Refusing to eat
- Avoiding eye contact
- Self-harm or self-neglect
- Severe bouts of depression and anxiety
If you or a family member notice these or any other warning signs, you may wish to further investigate with facility or hospital management. But if you believe elder abuse is ongoing and a cause for concern, you should immediately contact Adult Protective Services in your area along with the personal injury team of Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC.
We have helped many families in Chicago and in cities across Illinois protect their elderly loved ones from further abuse and get them the settlement they need to heal properly. Contact us today at (312) 644-0444 for free no-obligation information.