Each year millions of our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and family loved ones are victimized by the very people that are entrusted with their care. Nursing home abuse is far more prevalent than most of us would like to think. Exact statistics are very difficult to come by showing the number of citizens aged 65 and older that are exploited, abused, neglected or mistreated each year in the United States but even the most conservative estimates put that number at over one million. Some experts estimate that for every one incidence of elder abuse that is actually reported, there may be as many as five that go unreported. Much like the victims of child abuse, victims of elder abuse may be afraid of reprisals if they report the abuse or may be in a deteriorating mental state and unaware of the abuse that they are suffering. Elder abuse can happen anywhere, in any setting, and be perpetrated by any type of caregiver. Sadly, the nursing homes that we depend on to take care of our elderly loved ones are one of the most common settings for elder abuse.
For most of us, the decision to put an elderly relative in a nursing home is not an easy one. Weeks, months, even years can be spent debating what to do with an aging relative. Many people choose to bring the relative to live with them only to find that they can’t give them the attention and security that they need in their twilight years. Taking care of an elderly loved one can be physically, emotionally and financially draining. Even with the best of intentions, many people eventually come to the conclusion that they must put their elderly loved one in the care of a nursing home. The idea, of course, is that they will be safe, secure and comfortable in a nursing home. You have been assured that their health will be monitored on a daily basis, they will be able to interact and socialize with other seniors and all their practical concerns will be attended to by the staff at the nursing home. Ideally, this is how a nursing home works. Sadly, sometimes instead of treating our loved ones with the care and respect they deserve, they are mistreated, neglected and even abused in the nursing home that was entrusted with their care.
So what can you do if you suspect that your loved one has been mistreated, neglected or abused by the staff at a nursing home? There are a number of government agencies that are involved in the regulation and investigation of nursing homes. In California, you can call the Adult Protective Services for the county that your loved one resides in, as well as contacting the California Long Term Care Ombudsman. If you feel that legal action is warranted, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the nursing home for injuries that your loved one has suffered. For more information on your legal rights and options, contact the California elder abuse law firm of Ledger & Associates. Attorney Emery Ledger has been fighting for victim’s rights in California for over a decade. He can be reached for a free detailed evaluation of your case at 1-800-300-0001 or visit him online at www.ledgerlaw.com.