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How to spot and stop elder abuse

Over the next 20 years, it is expected that Ohio's population will grow by a meager 2 percent, whereas its elderly population will shoot up by 40 percent. This discrepancy means that elders could be more prone to abuse, especially those in nursing homes. Therefore, it is necessary to learn how to spot abuse and how to put an end to it.

Elder abuse can take place in many forms: neglect, exploitation, physical abuse, emotional abuse and sexual abuse. Neglect takes place when an elderly person's primal needs are being ignored. As for exploitation, it occurs when the elderly person's resources are used unlawfully or improperly. Physical abuse is when an individual uses physical force with the elderly, emotional abuse happens when an individual threatens or humiliates the elderly, and sexual abuse is when an individual forces themselves in a sexual manner on the elderly.

As unfortunate as elder abuse may be, there are telltale signs that can alert others of its occurrence, prompting them to put a stop to it. For instance, sudden bruises, cuts or any other signs of physical harm can alert attentive people that physical abuse may be taking place. Severe dehydration, lack of nutrition and poor personal hygiene can point in the direction of neglect. Also, any abrupt changes in an elderly person's assets or finances can be an indication of exploitation.

If someone spots an elderly person getting abused, there is much that can be done. To start with, Ohio's Adult Protective Services program, a branch under The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, helps adults over the age of 60, and the county departments of job and family services would be willing to investigate a possible case of abuse. Additionally, the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, which is part of the Ohio Department of Aging, could look into suspected abuse in nursing homes. If anyone suspects that their family members or loved ones are being abused by a caregiver, they may reach out to an experienced lawyer for advice about how to proceed.

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