Common Reasons Why Elder Abuse Is Likely to Go Unreported
Unfortunately, elder abuse is more common than most people think. Sadly, this type of abuse often takes a variety of different forms, making it generally difficult to spot. Common types of elder abuse involve intimidation or threats against the elderly, some involve neglect, and others involve financial scams and exploitation. Most elder abuse cases involve the elderly’s own family members, staff members or other residents at nursing home facilities, and paid caregivers.
If you suspect that your elderly loved one is the victim of some type of elder abuse or nursing home neglect, you should immediately report the abuse to authorities. It is also important for you to contact an experienced New Jersey elder abuse attorney to help you protect your loved one’s legal rights.
Elder Abuse Is More Common Than We Think
About 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 60 has experienced some type of elder abuse. This means approximately 5 million elders are abused each year in the United States. This number may be even higher because, according to a recent study, only 1 in 14 cases of abuse are reported to the authorities.
In spite of the high number of elder abuse cases and the growing awareness in both government and society of the problem of elder abuse in the U.S., very few mechanism exist to get an accurate accounting of how common the problem is. There are other factors, as explained below, that account for the underreporting of elder abuse cases.
Easier to Blame Other Issues
The elderly often suffer declining physical health or other cognitive issues, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. These underlying, age-related issues may not only prevent elderly adults from being able to accurately describe what is happening to them, but can also mirror other symptoms exhibited by victims of elder abuse.
Failing to Recognize Signs and Symptoms of Elder Abuse
Signs of elder abuse are not always easily indentifiable, even to loved ones. As such, it is important to look for any red flags that may indicate abuse, such as:
- Unusual changes in behavior, mood, or sleep habits.
- Fear, anxiety, depression, or isolation.
- Broken bones, bruises, welts, cuts or sores.
- Untreated bedsores.
- Torn or bloody underclothing.
- Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases.
- Dirtiness, poor nutrition, or dehydration.
- Lack of medical aids the resident needs.
- Unusual changes in bank account or money management, wills, or other financial documents.
- Forged signatures on financial documents.
- Unpaid bills.
Many elders do not report abuse, even to their loved ones, because they are ashamed of being unable to defend themselves against the abuse. This response unfortunately is common to most abuse victims, not just the elderly. If you suspect that your elderly loved one is the victim of any type of abuse, you should immediately report it to the authorities. You should also consult with an experienced New Jersey elder abuse attorney to protect the rights of your loved one.
Call a New Jersey Elder Abuse Attorney Today!
The legal team at Beninato & Matrafajlo Attorneys at Law, LLC is dedicated to helping our injured clients reach the best monetary settlement when they are involved in any type of accidents.
If you suspect a loved one has become the victim of elder abuse, you need an experienced and caring legal advocate on your side. Our experienced New Jersey elder abuse attorneys are available to personally review your case. Call us at 908-355-7100 to schedule a free, complimentary consultation with our legal team today