Eder abuse is, sadly, a category of abuse not always recognized. Nursing home abuse in Kentucky has been the source of recent press investigations, but elderly adults can face abuse even in their own or relatives homes, or in the facilities apparently dedicated to their care and well-being. It can range from actual, physical abuse to preying on their finances or more insidious cases of neglect. While lawyers dedicated to elder abuse exist, to eradicate this despicable act help is needed from the general public and everyone who comes into contact with the elderly.
Almost everyone will interact with an elder in their day to day life. You may not directly have an aged family member or be responsible for an elder’s care, but you probably have elderly neighbors, or pass elders on the street or at your place of work. Elderly people are frail and less able to stand up to physical bullying at the hands of those stronger than them. At heart, it’s the same as in other cases of abuse- a person weaker than the perpetrator over whom they can hold power. It can often be exacerbated by failing eyesight, hearing and even memory that makes others more inclined to dismiss or ignore them. Sadly, a large source of this abuse is the people directly responsible for the elder’s care.
As with most categories of intimate abuse, elder abuse generally takes place in homes or living facilities, and abusers can be as close as the home carers or children of the elderly person. It can range from the more obvious physical abuse- actual physical contact or the inappropriate use of medication and restraints- to confinement, emotional abuse like intimidation, threats, ridicule, humiliation and blaming, to the way more insidious acts of isolating and ignoring the elder, menacing them or even abusing them sexually. Neglect can be very difficult to spot, but comes about when the caretaking obligations for the elder are not met. Financial exploitation can also take place, from changing the will to benefit the abuser to the misuse of bank accounts, physical theft of goods or money, forgery and identity theft. There are even institutions that target the elderly via phony charities, fake prizes and investment fraud.
There’s even the possibility of the elderly individual receiving non-existent or poor care at charging facilities, double billing for services or accepting kickbacks, over and under medication for profit purposes, the use of fraudulent medicines, and straight up fraud against the persons medical care or medical aid fund.
With the abuse covering such a wide number of angles and possibilities, it can be difficult to spot. Add in the fact that many of these symptoms can appear to be symptoms of mental illness or dementia, or signs of fragility easily explained away by unscrupulous caregivers. However, there are signs to watch out for. Frequent arguments between patient and caregiver, or changes in the personality and behavior of the elder can be warning signs. Likewise, obvious physical symptoms of drug overuseage or abuse, signs of restraint, caregivers who will not leave you alone with the elder and other signs of emotional abuse should all be looked for.
Only with engaged, compassionate action from the community will a nursing home abuse Kentucky solution be found.