The more you know about elderly abuse, the more you may be able to intervene.
A: Elder abuse is the mistreatment of an elderly person whether intentional or negligence. Any caregiver who harms a vulnerable adult is violating the law. The law recognizes physical, emotional and sexual abuse; exploitation, neglect and abandonment as causes for action. Anyone of any social standing or ethnic group can be the victim of elder abuse.
A: Caregivers must be vigilant because in some cases the elder cannot advocate for themselves. Look for signs such as bruises and broken bones, pressure marks, unexplained and sudden withdrawal from social activities, acting out with anger or displaying signs of depression. Sexual abuse might be more difficult to see such as bruises around the genitals, breasts, or thighs. Bedsores or any other medical conditions that go unattended could be signs of abuse.
A: Yes. Troubling behaviors can indicate the elder is neglecting their own care which can lead to injury or death. Look for signs such as hoarding, a failure to take medications, leaving a stove burning, living in unsanitary conditions, failure to keep oneself clean and feed oneself. The elder may be suffering from dementia or have a drug and alcohol problem.
A: Some people prey on the vulnerable because they can get away with it. Abusers can be men and women, family members, even adult children. Maybe the child wants to get back at their parent, or they are in a feud with other family members and want to control the assets of the elder. Maybe they are stressed from their caretaking job. Neglect may not be considered by family members to be a form of adult abuse, but it is.
A: Florida Statute 400, the Nursing Home Residents’ Bill of Rights establishes basic dignity and treatment of the elderly to include:
- Reasonable access to health and legal services
- To be transferred or discharged only for medical reasons
- To be free from mental and physical abuse, corporal punishment, seclusion, and physical and chemical restraints
- To be treated courteously, fairly, and with the fullest measure of dignity
- To receive adequate and appropriate health care
A: First the defendant, the nursing home, will be served with a pre-suit notice. They can make an offer to settle out of court. If not, both sides will go to mediation. Generally, these cases can be resolved in one to two years. Although we can never guarantee an outcome, an award can be upwards of $100,000.
A: When Medicare and Medicaid or your insurance company covers your medical bills that resulted from abuse, they often want to be paid back. Medicare is a federal program and under federal law you must reimburse Medicare for at least some of what it paid out. We try to make these payouts as small as possible.
If you think a loved one is being abused or neglected call the Florida Department of Children and Families Abuse Hotline at 1-800-962-2873 or the police if the situation merits immediate intervention.
When nursing home profits are more important than compassion toward our elderly, the Jacksonville nursing home abuse attorneys at Farah & Farah will launch an investigation to determine who should be held accountable. When corners are cut people suffer. We are here to help.