Nursing home neglect -- one of many forms of elderly abuse

Just like children, the elderly are vulnerable to abuse. Nursing home neglect is but one form of elderly abuse, according to the executive director of the Council on Aging in Middle Tennessee. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15 brought attention to the plight and vulnerability of elderly people in today's society.

Elder abuse can take many forms, such as financial exploitation, sexual, emotional  and physical abuse. It is estimated that in the United States about 10 percent of people older than 60 have faced some kind of neglect and/or abuse. Statistics indicate that a family member is involved in the majority of the abuse cases, often a spouse or an adult child.

Tennessee law requires those who suspect or otherwise becomes aware of neglect or abuse of the elderly to report it to the relevant authorities. People working with the older generation, as well as family members, need to become aware of the possible danger of abuse and learn to identify telltale signs. The warning signs for sexual, emotional and physical abuse are much the same as for children. However, the signs for financial exploitation may be more difficult to spot.

There is little doubt that the ever growing elderly population is becoming increasingly vulnerable and that a greater responsibility lies with family members to stay involved in the lives of the older members of their family. Nursing home neglect claims can be made against a person or institution if there is evidence of neglect or abuse. The best place to start is by seeking professional advice. Consultation with a lawyer specializing in such cases can assist concerned family members regarding what actions would be appropriate to take.

Source: tennessean.com, "Elder abuse on the rise in Middle Tennessee", Grace Smith, June 14, 2016

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