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Aventura Nursing Home Abuse Blog

New case reveals extent of long-term care abuse

Nursing home neglect is, by its nature, a hidden problem. It is difficult to take a clear look at the dangers inherent in denying or forgetting care for seniors who are reliant on professional caregivers. This is why failure to properly care for nursing home residents should be brought to the attention of law enforcement.

A recent case of this dangerous type of neglect was recently uncovered and is bringing more attention to the problem nationwide. A man in long-term care at a New York institution for the severely disabled was discovered by visiting nurses to be infested with maggots. The report was leaked to the Associated Press, which believed it was unlikely the case would have been reported otherwise.

Why you need to look for signs of nursing home abuse

You may hear stories of nursing home abuse in Florida every day on the news. The thought of it hitting so close to home is hard to believe. You may think your elderly parent is safe from harm in a nursing home because she or he has not had anything bad to say. However, you should not wait for your loved one to draw your attention to the danger he or she may be in. There is always the possibility your parent is suffering at the hands of his or her caregiver.

Here are some reasons why you should observe your loved one for signs of nursing home abuse:

Arbitration changes nursing home abuse cases

Residential senior living is a comfortable and efficient choice for millions of senior Floridians, and many nursing homes provide a place to live and a place to work for many across Florida. These institutions require fair oversight and the expectation of safety, because "our loved ones are there and we need to hold nursing homes accountable."

Those are the words of an elder care activist who lost her grandmother in a nursing home last year. The elderly Floridian presented with a large sore, which was complicated by an infection that proved fatal. Her family is currently suing the nursing home for neglect.

Investigation into elder abuse shows pattern of behavior

A man native to New York who spent decades in Florida is being investigated in the Sunshine State in connection to the recent death of an elderly relative. The suspect and his wife arrived in his native state from Florida last summer to act as caregivers for his 95-year-old grandmother, who was suffering from dementia.

Police describe the death as a "mercy" killing as the suspect's grandmother slid further into confusion, increasingly unable to take care of herself. They allege the suspect choked the victim to death to avoid committing her to a nursing home.

Variations of nursing home neglect

Neglect is too common in nursing homes, and too easy. Chronic conditions with high recovery times and less movement can lead caregivers to ignore subtle symptoms such as pallid skin, bedsores and general poor health. This also makes neglect harder to determine, and difficult to track if it has been found by law enforcement agents.

Personal hygiene neglect is a common type of neglect in nursing homes. Overwhelmed or inattentive caregivers can fall behind on ensuring senior residents' standards for clothing and cleanliness. Signs of poor hygiene and disheveled appearance may be symptoms of this type of neglect.

Elder abuse and its many forms

Senior citizens have earned their dignity and the ability to enjoy their golden years to their fullest potential. Florida, the U.S. state with the highest numbers of seniors and retirees, is host to millions doing just that.

Elderly people and those who care for them, however, must remain vigilant against mistreatment by family members, caretakers and others in their lives. Elder abuse, together with neglect and exploitation, can involve a variety of crimes and breaches of trust.

What nursing homes can do to prevent falls

As people age, both the risk of falling and the potential risks of resulting injury tend to increase. Elder people residing in nursing homes may have more health risk factors that make them likely to fall. While falls may not necessarily result from outright abuse, failing to take preventative measures may fall into the category of negligence.

Common reasons why older people may fall include conditions or medications that affect balance, lack of appropriate walking aids and muscle weakness. Sometimes, elderly people may try to move on their own without seeking necessary assistance. Nursing homes need to meet standards of care for adequately handling residents who may experience all kinds of physical and cognitive issues that could put them at risk.

How do I look out for elder abuse?

Elder abuse is a dangerous and highly misunderstood crime. This is often because care -- and mistreatment -- often occur away from public view. Elderly people and their caregivers should be aware of the likely environments for abuse or neglect.

What are the risk factors for elder abuse?

What counts as elder abuse in Florida?

Florida is home to more senior citizens than any other U.S. state, with nearly five million residents above the age of 60. With such a high population of elderly people, the Sunshine State should remain aware of circumstances and signs of elder abuse to protect themselves, their loved ones and their neighbors.

Any kind of physical violence towards an elderly person can be elder abuse, including striking, slapping or shaking someone. This can even include minor offenses like pinching or flicking, especially if the behavior is demeaning.

What are some examples of good nursing home operations?

The best way to protect your loved one from nursing home neglect or abuse is to do your due diligence. Finding out how nursing homes in your area of Florida operate is a great first step. Obviously, a nursing home filled with clean, happy and healthy residents is a good indication of proper operations, but it is a good idea to delve a little deeper before you make your final decision.

The sections below offer some valuable insight into the best practices of high-quality nursing homes. You can use these points as a guideline or as a checklist as you investigate the homes you are considering for your elder.

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