Florida is Not Doing Enough to Take Care of Seniors
Florida has one of the highest percentages in the United States of senior citizens, but studies show that the state is not taking care of them. After Hurricane Irma, “significant flaws in elder care and protocols and regulations” were unearthed, according to Action News Jax. Following the hurricane, a new rule was put in place that requires nursing homes and assisted living facilities to have a generator and fuel for 96 hours.
A dozen senior citizens who lived in a rehabilitation center, adjacent to a medical center, died because of sweltering conditions. The residents were not evacuated across the street, but instead were left in unlivable conditions. There are over 3,000 registered nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Florida. Indeed, 53 of 67 counties in Florida have above average population of individuals aged 65 or older. Nearly 96 percent of elder abuse cases go unreported. Abuse means, “any willful act or threatened act by a relative, caregiver, or household member, which causes or is likely to cause significant impairment to a vulnerable adult’s physical, mental, or emotional health Abuse includes acts and omissions.”
Elders, or senior citizens, are susceptible to abuse because they are not always able to speak out or get the help that they need themselves. There is a stigma surrounding elder abuse that sometimes prevents victims from coming forward. They might not want to offend their children or lose independence and live in a nursing home; these elders might suffer in silence. Alternatively, a senior that is dependent on another for care might not want to report abuse because they rely on the caregiver’s help so much.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
There are common signs that people must look out for in their vulnerable loved ones. The most common types and signs of abuse are:
- Physical Abuse: Physical abuse manifests in noticeable injuries to a person’s body. Bruises, broken bones, pressure marks, and burns are just some of the physical abuse that someone might suffer. Additionally, hearing questionable explanations for such injuries can be a sign of abuse. If the individual cannot answer how the injury occurred or offers meager explanations, then it may be a good time to investigate abuse.
- Neglect: Rapid weight loss, dirty clothes, being unbathed, and having bedsores are signs that the senior is being neglected by their caregiver.
- Sexual Abuse: Attackers will often look for vulnerable people to victimize. A senior can be vulnerable and a target for sexual abuse. Bruising in the genital area and breasts are signs of possible sexual abuse.
- Mental or Emotional Abuse: Mental or emotional abuse can range from a “simple verbal insult to an aggressive verbal attack.” In cases of emotional abuse, the senior is often isolated to keep the abuse a secret.
- Financial Exploitation: Additions to bank accounts, bills not being paid, and usual purchases made are common examples of financial exploitation.
Our Team Can Help You Today
If you or a loved one is the victim of elder abuse, the Leifer Law Firm is here to help you. We use compassion and skill to provide top-notch legal services to you to explore all options available to you. Contact us today for a free consultation.