Our Chicago nursing home abuse lawyers work directly with seniors at long-term care homes and skilled nursing facilities. However, it is important to point out that elder abuse occurs in countless other locations, not just institutions or elder care communities. Sometimes the abuse outside of these spaces is very subtle and hard to catch. Usually, there is only actual accountability when the abuse boils over in some egregious circumstances.
For example, the Appeal Democrat reported last week on new elder abuse charges filed against a man for his abuse of an elder woman with which he apparently lived. The story explains how the 56-year old man in this case was arrested after an alleged physical assault on a 78-year old paralyzed woman. The details of the altercation are a bit murky, but alcohol-fueled anger appears to be at root of the problem.
The story does not indicate exactly what the living arrangement was, however the altercation was apparently based on disagreement over rent money. The man allegedly demanded that the senior woman return his portion of the rent money for that particular month. She declined, and this led to a more severe argument. Use of the home’s air conditioning may have played a role in the disagreement.
The man became more and more agitated; he eventually struck the woman several times in the face and forehead. Somehow the police were called to the home in the middle of this altercation or shortly afterwards. It was then that the man was arrested for his actions. Law enforcement officers noted at the time that there was a strong smell of alcohol on the man’s breath.
Each Illinois elder abuse attorney at our firm understands that these sorts of physical outbursts are often only a small part of on-going mistreatment. Without speculating on the details of this particular case, it is clear that many seniors in these sorts of living situations are often victims of repeated mistreatment. For example, seniors in these situations are bullied in various ways by those in a position of power over them. When a senior lives with another-often in situations where the other individual is supposed to provide daily support to the senior-then the possibility of one taking advantage of the vulnerable elder are prime. This exploitation can take many forms, from physically hurting the resident (as in this case) to slowly skirting financial responsibilities (such as refusing to pay full rent).
Each locality has state and federal regulators who are responsible for investigating various allegations of mistreatment against seniors. But, regulatory bodies are woefully understaffed and rarely have the resources to fully ensure the fair treatment of all local seniors, both in nursing homes and those in other living arrangements. That means that the accountability should fall even more heavily on all of us who in any way are in a position to ensure that a local senior-from a family member to a neighbor-are being treated properly. Little is harmed when one investigates further into potential harm. However, much can be lost when those suspicions are ignored.
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