Every decade, the United States has seen an increase in the number of Americans aged 65 and older. Living longer, our loved ones are able to spend more time with their friends, meet beloved grandchildren, and experience more from life than generations before.
Unfortunately, however, as our aging population grows, new challenges arise for them. One major emerging issue is that of nursing home and elder abuse. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), approximately 10 percent of older Americans report being the victims of some type of abuse in the past year, and experts agree that cases of abuse are widely underreported. A past report from the office of Arizona’s Attorney General stated that Maricopa County alone experiences 70,000 instances of elder abuse each year.
There is no excuse for abuse of our elderly and Arizona elder abuse victims and their families don’t have to remain victims. At The Skiver Law Firm, our trial lawyers are dedicated to protecting the rights of aging Arizonans and helping to prevent others from having to suffer through a similar abusive experience. Our experienced legal team works hard to help families identify, stop, and litigate nursing home abuse. If you suspect your loved one is or has been a victim of elder or nursing home abuse, call our Scottsdale office today at 480-626-1667 to learn more about your rights and what we can do to help.
Common Types of Nursing Home Abuse in Arizona
The simple truth is that there are many different ways in which the elderly are taken advantage of and abused. The most common types of nursing home abuse include:
- Physical abuse. Inflicting physical pain and injury. This would include hitting, slapping, and restraining, among others.
- Emotional abuse. Inflicting mental and emotional pain and misery. This often manifests through threats, name-calling, intimidation, and humiliation.
- Financial abuse. Using the finances of the elderly to serve one’s own purpose, including taking money and property, forgery, coercion, and use of property without permission.
- Neglect. Conduct that prevents the elderly from obtaining what is necessary to maintain appropriate physical or mental health. Neglect includes not dispensing medication appropriately, failing to provide adequate clothing, failing to change bedclothes or adult diapers, and failing to provide medical advice when needed or requested.
- Sexual abuse. Forcing an older adult to watch or be part of a sexual act. This can include rape, inappropriate touching, and more.
Increasingly, instances of abuse related to social media are emerging, with caregivers sharing demeaning or inappropriate photos or videos of their patients on sites like Snapchat. While these situations are more difficult to discover—often only a “friend” or “follower” of the abuser can see the abuse, so it must be reported to authorities through them—there have been many successful cases that have held these abusers responsible for their actions.
Identifying Nursing Home Abuse Can Be Challenging
Identifying the abuse is often the most difficult challenge. Whether out of fear or incapacity, the elderly are often unable to report the abuse themselves. It is incumbent upon their loved ones to understand and recognize the warning signs and symptoms that accompany nursing home abuse. Some of the most common warning signs include:
- Depression and confusion
- Unexplained weight loss
- Violent or agitated behavior
- Signs of trauma
- Withdrawal from social and emotional interaction
- Unexplained bruises, burns, or scars
- Trouble sleeping
- Unkempt appearance
- Development of bedsores or other preventable ailments
Even if you aren’t sure if your loved one is being abused, if you or your family have suspicions, the most important thing you can do is investigate your gut feeling. Our Scottsdale trial attorneys can help you understand your rights and how best to proceed. Take a moment to fill out our online contact form, and you’ll receive a prompt response from a member of our team who can answer your questions and schedule a consultation.
What You Can Do If You Suspect Your Loved One Is Being Abused
If you are worried that your loved one is being abused by caregivers or other employees at a nursing home, you have rights and you can take action. It is dirt simple in Arizona—the law protects those who reasonably suspect and report abuse. In these cases, you should:
- Document the abuse. If possible, take photos or screenshots of any possible signs of abuse. Write down the dates and times of problem and the names of those involved if they are known to you.
- Report the abuse to management of the facility. Talk to those in charge of the nursing home. They can help you to stop the abuse of their employees. Submit your complaint in writing so there is a record of your concerns.
- Report the abuse to the state. The Arizona Attorney General’s Office has a Taskforce Against Senior Abuse. It has both a helpline and a number for official complaints to ensure that your loved one and others in their nursing home can be protected.
- Call an experienced nursing home abuse attorney. An experienced legal team can help you protect evidence, file official complaints, investigate those responsible, and take the matter to court if necessary. The lawyers at The Skiver Law Firm are not afraid to take the protection of your loved one and other elderly members of our community to court. We are here to help you seek justice and compensation and hold those responsible accountable for their actions.
Call Our Maricopa County Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Today
As our loved ones age, they need our love, support, and protection. Often, they cannot speak for themselves and depend on us to ensure their continued good health and safety. At The Skiver Law Firm, we take that responsibility very seriously. The bottom line is that we want to keep our communities safe from those who would do harm to any of our citizens and to seek justice for those who have had to suffer the emotional and physical pain of abuse.
Our experienced trial lawyers understand what a difficult situation this can be, but we also know what it takes to successfully pursue a case against an abuser. If you suspect your loved one is being abused, call our Scottsdale office today at 480-626-1667 or take a moment to fill out our online contact form to learn more about how we may be able to help.