What Risk Factors Make Seniors Vulnerable To Abuse?
When you place your loved one in a nursing home or other long-term care facility, you trust that they will receive the care they need for their physical and mental health. Unfortunately, all too often this trust is broken and nursing home staff members and administrators are abusive towards the residents in their care.
Elder and nursing home abuse can take many forms. Senior citizens are particularly susceptible to abuse, making some perpetrators view this demographic as easy targets. Below, our Tampa nursing home abuse attorney outlines the main factors that make seniors vulnerable to abuse.
Declining Physical Health
One of the trademarks of aging is a decline in a person’s physical health. Bones are more likely to break, arteries become stiff and cause the heart to work harder. Vision and hearing loss also become very common as a person ages. A decline in a person’s physical health is a large risk factor of abuse. Nursing home staff members may find it easier to control and intimidate seniors who have issues with mobility, or they may take advantage of a resident with a low body weight or who cannot see properly.
Nursing home residents often suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other mental impairments. Almost half of nursing home residents with these mental conditions become victims of abuse or neglect, according to the National Council on Aging. Residents with mental health conditions cannot always understand when abuse is occurring, or they are unable to come forward about it. The confusion, memory loss, and decline in reasoning and judgment caused by mental illness all make residents more vulnerable to abuse.
Whether staff members isolate a resident from others, or the isolation is self-inflicted by the nursing home patient, social isolation is a large risk factor for abuse. A decline in mental health or the ability to communicate can also result in social isolation, increasing the chance that abuse will occur. When a nursing home resident is socially isolated, they may also lack social support or they may be unaware of community and health services.
Elders greatly depend on nursing home staff members for assistance and support. That dependency can cause caregivers to feel stressed and overworked, resulting in abuse. Under-staffing and stress is never an excuse for abuse to occur, though. Elders who are dependent on their caregivers may also not come forward with allegations of abuse because they are afraid that they will no longer receive the care they need.
Contact Our Nursing Home Abuse Attorney in Tampa Today
If your loved one is at risk of nursing home abuse and you believe it has occurred, it is important to know that you have legal options. At Kohn Law, our Tampa nursing home abuse attorney can advise you of what those are and how you can claim financial compensation for your loved one’s losses. Call us now at 813-428-8504 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and to learn more.