Elder Abuse Attorney Serving Stamford, Bridgeport, Danbury Areas
As much as you may want to be able to care for your aging parent or grandparent, life gets in the way. Because of obligations in your own life, including children you need to care for and financial concerns, it is simply impractical for you to commit yourself to being a caregiver. As a result, you found a nursing home, assisted living facility, or home health agency you thought you could trust to take care of your loved one. However, despite your efforts to make the best choice you could, your trust may have been broken and your loved one may have suffered neglect or abuse at the hands of another.
The abuse and neglect lawyers at Berkowitz Hanna help people like you defend the legal rights of the elderly who have been neglected or abused, prevent the abuse from continuing, and fight for fair compensation for their injuries.
The Unknown Ubiquity of Elder Abuse
Elder abuse is far more common than we are aware of or would like to admit. One study found that 7.6%–10% of its elderly study participants experienced abuse in the prior year. Hence, while we trust nursing homes, assisted care facilities, and home health agencies to do the right thing and provide the quality care that elders need, this is not always the case. Discovering a loved one has been neglected or abused is devastating and shocking for everyone.
Despite protective services for the elderly being available in all 50 states, as well as the existence of mandatory reporting laws for elder abuse in most states (including Connecticut), an overwhelming number of cases of abuse, neglect, and exploitation go undetected and untreated each year. One study estimates that only one in fourteen cases of elder abuse is reported to authorities, and, according to the New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study, for every one case of elder abuse known to programs and agencies, 24 went undiscovered.
Because the state’s population is rapidly growing older, the opportunities for such abuse and neglect will grow in the future:
- Connecticut has the third highest life expectancy in the United States at 80.8 years.
- More than a third of Connecticut’s population is over the age of fifty, according to the state legislature’s Commission on Aging.
- By 2025, it is projected that at least 20% of almost every town in the state will be 65 or older.
- By 2040, the number of those 65 and older in the state is expected to grow by 57%.
Elder Abuse Defined
Elder abuse and neglect is defined by the National Center on Elderly Abuse as intentional acts causing harm or creating a serious risk of harm to an elder by a caregiver or other healthcare professional who is trusted by the elder. Although no one knows for sure how many elders in the country are neglected or abused, women suffer these issues at a higher rate than men.
Abuse and neglect of the elderly takes many forms, not all of them physical. Some forms of abuse include:
- Sexual assault
- Physical assault
- Nursing home negligence
- Improper medication
- Dehydration and malnutrition
- Financial exploitation
Our elderly loved ones are vulnerable, especially if they are unable or unwilling to report such abuse. They may not want to report abuse themselves due to a fear of retaliation, a lack of physical and/or cognitive ability to report the abuse, or an apprehension to get the abuser (who may be a family member) into trouble. In addition, signs of elder abuse may be missed by other healthcare professionals due to a lack of proper training.
Signs of Elder Abuse
Because of the many complications that may allow elder abuse to go unreported, it is important that you stay aware of the signs of potential abuse. Changes in behavior, such as unexplained nervousness and fear or a reluctance to talk, are frequent signs that abuse is occurring. In addition, more physical indicators, such as unexplained bruises or broken bones, bed sores, and signs of malnutrition, should also raise warning flags that all may not be right with your elder’s care.
If you are worried that your loved one may be suffering from abuse, you can take steps to get a better idea if abuse or neglect is actually happening and try to prevent it if it is. You could visit more often and at different times and days, which may catch the abusing party off guard. Also, stay alert to unsanitary conditions or discomfort expressed by your loved one. One of the most common forms of elder abuse is simple neglect, which can lead to a great deal of pain and discomfort.
Contact Berkowitz Hanna to Discuss Your Elder Abuse Case
If you believe your loved one has been abused or neglected, contact our office right away so you can talk about what we can do to stop the abuse from continuing and obtain fair compensation for the injuries that were suffered. If you try to settle any legal issues with the individual who has harmed your loved one without the help of an elder abuse lawyer, you may receive far less compensation than the case is worth.
Berkowitz Hanna’s Connecticut elder abuse attorneys are committed to helping individuals and families affected by elder abuse. Call (866) 479-7909 today or visit our contact page to schedule an evaluation of your case.