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Protecting the elderly

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By Patrick N. George

The baby boomers are getting older, the population of the United States is aging, and with these two facts colliding, it is becoming more and more difficult to find quality care for our elderly loved ones.  It used to be that children could care for their parents, but with the aging population, this often means caring for grandparents and parents. Furthermore, the natural caregivers are frequently having to be employed to meet their own needs. In short, this is becoming a difficult problem both for society and individual families.

Fortunately, many elderly people remain independent and capable of taking care of themselves with a minimal amount of help from family or home care assistance. However, it cannot be escaped that as a person grows older oftentimes complete assistance is needed to care for the elderly and ease the burden on family member. It would be wonderful if the elderly received round the clock care by competent professional in a facility that genuinely cared about them. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Often times, our loved ones end up being placed in crowded nursing homes where elder abuse and neglect are rampant. There are some signs to look for to ensure that your loved one is being taken care of properly.

These signs include:

  • General, and often sudden, deterioration of the person’s health
  • Poor hygiene as a result of few showers and little care with toileting
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Unexplained bruises, sores, cuts, or other injuries
  • Withdrawal from normal activities; especially those that your loved one usually enjoyed
  • A sudden change in alertness
  • Unusual or uncharacteristic depression
  • Frequent conflicts between the caregiver and the elderly person especially when they result in “punishment” to the loved one.

These signs are important since physical, mental, and emotional abuse can often lead to health problems, illness, or death.

One of your greatest allies can be your doctor. Turn to him or her if you sense physical or mental changes. Your doctor can help you find solutions. In addition, if it is determined that elder abuse or neglect is occurring, contact a lawyer who is experienced in this unique area of law.

 

This website includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer for advice on specific legal issues.

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