One of the tough tasks faced by our Chicago nursing home abuse lawyers is getting all those who have been victimized by negligent nursing home care to actually take steps to hold that facility accountable. As we often explain, elder abuse remains a largely hidden problem. Every day many seniors are hurt physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially because of poor treatment. It is only a very small fraction of those victims who will ever come forward, explain the wrongdoing, and hold the wrongdoers accountable for their conduct. As difficult as it sometimes is to speak up against this treatment, it is only with awareness and advocacy that neglect can be corrected and lives can be saved.
Many seniors themselves are unable to do anything about the mistreatment that they experience. The most seriously disabled-such as Alzheimer’s patients or those suffering other forms of dementia-are physically and mentally unable to stand up for themselves. For others, there remains a shroud of fear and embarrassment about their care. Pride, self-esteem, and self-worth remain bruised when an elderly community member is mistreated. Many of those victims wish to simply hide the abuse so as to not bring attention to their own vulnerabilities. As a result of this inability and unwillingness to speak up, most of these individuals continue to be neglected day in and day out. The only way that they are ever saved is when others speak up on their behalf and demand accountability.
It is vital that all community members be aware of the warning signs of elder abuse. In that way, we can all act as the eyes and ears of the victims, ready to stand up and put an end to the suffering if necessary. Recenty, U.S. News and World Report discussed the frailty of many seniors and the need for loved ones to keep an eye out for mistreatment. Referencing information provided by the U.S. Administration on Aging, the report mentions of the clearest warning signs of elder abuse.
For one thing, any clear physical problems, such as bruises, fractures, burns or skin marks, should be investigated at all times. In addition, personality changes in the senior should be noted. If the elder suddenly withdraws from interaction with others, seems depressed, or is less alert, they may be experiencing some form of neglect. Unexplained weight loss, bed sores, and hygiene problems are also big red flags of improper care. It is helpful to pay attention to the interaction between the senior and their caregiver-frequent fights and arguing may be an indicator of a problematic relationship.
The Illinois nursing home neglect lawyers at our firm know that mistreatment remains a prevalent problem throughout area long-term care facilities. Not all nursing homes are created equal. However, no facility can be excused from failing to provide the basic level of care and protection demanded by residents to keep them safe, healthy, and retaining the ability to pursue their own happiness. Please be sure to keep an eye out for the signs of nursing home neglect so that you can speak up for a vulnerable loved one if necessary.
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