June 15th Is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
Since 2006, June 15th has been deemed World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. The day was declared by the International Network for Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The day is a way to call lawyers, families, and advocates into action to promote a higher awareness of elder neglect and abuse, and the social, cultural, and economic impacts it has. Below, our Tampa nursing home abuse attorney outlines the prevalence of this misconduct, how to prevent it, and how to report it when it occurs.
How to Recognize Elder Abuse
To recognize elder abuse, close attention, vigilance, and action are all required. One of the most obvious signs is when there is a sudden change to one’s mental, physical, or financial condition. This requires frequently checking in with your loved one so you can look for these signs. Physical abuse shows the following signs:
- Being abandoned, or left alone for long periods of time without proper supervision,
- Unexpected and strange physical injuries,
- Unsafe living conditions,
- Inadequate hygiene, and
- Missing personal items, including hearing aids, glasses, and medications
Mental abuse occurs when an older person’s mental health is harmed through yelling, insults, or verbal harassment. Signs of this type of abuse include:
- Withdrawal and social isolation,
- Sudden changes in behavior or moods, including acting anxious, confused, angry, fearful, or depressed, and
- Unexplained lethargy
Nursing home staff members, relatives, and caretakers sometimes also sadly engage in financial abuse. Financial abuse occurs when one person fraudulently obtains property from an elder, or tricks them into signing important legal documents, such as loan applications or a power of attorney. Some of the most common signs of financial abuse are as follows:
- Suddenly being unable to access legal and financial records
- Any suspicious execution of any legal document on behalf of an elder, and
- Unexplained monetary transactions
How to Report Elder Abuse
There are many ways to report elder abuse. If your loved one is in immediate danger of harm, call 911, particularly if you will require assistance removing your loved one from a facility. You can also file a police report including the victim’s name, gender, age, location, and a description of the neglect or abuse you believe is occurring.
You can also self-report the incident to the Florida Agency for Heath Care Administration (AHCA), the Florida Department of Children and Families, or the Florida Abuse Hotline. When reporting in this manner you should have the name of the nursing home, the Medicaid ID number of the facility, the dates during which your loved one received care at the facility, and a brief description of how the abuse or neglect happened.
Call a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney in Tampa
Nursing home abuse sadly occurs far more often than people believe. At Kohn Law, our Tampa nursing home abuse attorney knows how to help your family make things right if it does happen. Call us now at 813-428-8504 or reach out to us online to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about your legal options.