Elder adults deserve respect and compassion during their golden years, but unfortunately, in many cases, they end up facing abuse. And tragically, the abuse often comes from the nursing home staff who is supposed to be caring for these vulnerable people.
If you believe that you or a loved one is a victim of elder abuse, you may be wondering what to do. Here are some essential facts to point you in the right direction.
1. One in Ten Elders Face Elder Abuse
If you are facing elder abuse, you are not alone. Tragically, people in this age group face abuse at alarmingly high rates.
Although the numbers vary from study to study, research suggests that 1 in 10 elders face abuse at some point in their lives. Often, the abuse comes from their family members, but in many cases, people are abused or neglected by nursing home staff.
Because many elders are embarrassed about the abuse or too frightened to report it, estimates claim that there may be 24 unreported cases for every complaint that gets filed.
2. Elder Abuse Takes Numerous Forms
When people hear the word abuse, they often think of physical abuse such as hitting or beating someone. While that is a form of elder abuse, there are numerous other forms as well. Elders face financial exploitation, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect.
Financial abuse tends to be the most commonly reported type of elder abuse. However, elders may be reluctant to report other types of abuse due to fears and social stigmas.
Elder adults deserve respect and compassion during their golden years
3. Elders With Dementia Are at Heightened Risk
All elders have a risk of abuse, but people with dementia face a heightened risk. These patients may have a higher risk because their needs are more challenging. If they are with caregivers who aren’t adequately trained to care for their needs, the caregivers may get frustrated and become abusive.
Beyond that, some unscrupulous abusers target people with dementia because they know that their memory issues may make them seem less credible if they do make a complaint about abuse. According to some estimates, half of dementia patients face elder abuse.
4. You Need to Be Careful When Reporting Elder Abuse
If you or a loved one is a victim of elder abuse, you need to move forward carefully when you report the abuse. In some cases, the management team at the nursing home may be complicit in the abuse. They may cover up the situation if you talk with them.
To be on the safe side, you may want to reach out to an objective third party such as an ombudsman. Additionally, you may want to make a report to the state’s Adult Protective Services. On top of that, you can also contact the police.
5. Elder Abuse Has a Two-Year Statute of Limitations
Most crimes have a statute of limitations. If you want to charge someone with a crime or bring a civil suit against them, you have to do so before the statute of limitations expires. With elder abuse, the statute of limitations in Arizona is two years.
Typically, that means you have two years from the date the abuse occurred to bring forward a lawsuit. However, in some cases, you may have two years from the date you suffered injuries from the abuse.
To be on the safe side, you should contact an attorney to talk about your situation as soon as possible. At Curiel and Runion, we help clients with a range of different legal needs, including elder abuse cases. To learn more, contact us today for a free case review.