Watching for the signs of elder abuse in Virginia

There are many common types of elder abuse, and those with a loved one in a nursing home should be aware of what they are.

Elder abuse is a growing problem in nursing homes in West Virginia and throughout the country. Since nursing home abuse is not always obvious, those with loved ones residing in an assisted living facility should familiarize themselves with the different types of elder abuse and learn the warning signs that an abusive situation may be occurring.

Types of nursing home abuse

There are several different forms of elder abuse, and they include some of the following:

  • Emotional abuse-This type of abuse occurs when a caregiver inflicts pain, anguish or any type of distress on an elderly person using both verbal and nonverbal actions.
  • Physical abuse-Physical abuse occurs when an elder is deprived of basic necessities or when a caregiver inflicts physical pain on a vulnerable elderly person.
  • Sexual abuse-This type of elder abuse refers to a non-consensual sexual act of any kind. It can also involve a caregiver coercing an elderly person to witness sexual actions.
  • Exploitation-Elderly people who are exploited have assets, funds or property misused, concealed or taken by a caregiver.
  • Neglect-When neglect occurs, a caregiver refuses to provide shelter, food, healthcare or protection to an elderly person.
  • Abandonment-This type of abuse occurs when an elderly person is deserted by the person responsible for taking care of him or her.

It is important to note that it is not uncommon for an elder to experience multiple types of abuse at the same time.

Common warning signs

Although there are dozens of warning signs that can indicate an elder is being abused by a caregiver, there are still some red flags people with an elderly loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility should watch out for. For instance, if an elderly person experiences marked emotional or physical changes, like not participating in activities, becoming abnormally withdrawn or becoming uncommunicative, physical abuse or neglect may be occurring.

Nursing home residents may also be experiencing abuse if they develop skin tears, bruises or pressure ulcers that cannot be explained. Additionally, sudden changes in weight, sleeping patterns or eating habits can indicate abuse or neglect is happening.

Taking legal action

Those who have concerns about a potentially abusive situation occurring at their loved one's nursing home in West Virginia may be worried about their loved one's health, happiness and safety. When this happens, those with a family member or loved one under the care of someone else should contact an attorney in their area for legal assistance.