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Research highlights need for vigilance against elder neglect

In the past several decades, more and more West Virginia families have had to move loved ones into care facilities. Whether long-term care homes or nursing homes, these moves are commonly necessitated by aging. However, it is also important to remember that inherent in the reason for these moves is the need to keep elderly people safe. Sadly, that does not always happen. Many an elderly person has suffered abuse or neglect at the hands of those who are supposed to protect them.

What exactly is elder neglect and abuse? According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, it is any failure to accommodate an elderly person's basic needs or to prevent them from being injured. Research conducted by the NCEA highlights just how widespread the problem of elder neglect and abuse really is in America. Over half of caregivers in one study voluntarily admitted that they had treated residents poorly in the previous 12 months. Roughly 33 percent of American nursing homes have cited for standards violations.

Abuse and neglect of an elder comes in many forms. Sexual abuse and physical abuse can happen and both may result in physical signs like broken bones, bruises or other wounds. Falls that occur due to lack of attention or protections may also cause physical injuries. Bedsores may be signs that people are not adequately being moved which is neglectful. Another concern is that of poor nutrition or insufficient hydration both problems that can be fatal if not addressed.

West Virginians with family members in care facilities may wish to talk with an attorney when they suspect problems with their loved ones' care. This can be an important way of determining what steps need to be taken.

Source: Wealth Management, "Seven Signs of Potential Elder Abuse," Michael Brevda, July 20, 2016

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