This blog often discusses nursing home neglect, how to spot signs of neglect, and what can be done if you or a loved one has been injured by nursing home neglect. While that topic is certainly important, it is not, by any means, the only concern elderly individuals should have when residing in a nursing home. Sadly, many nursing home residents are also subjected to elder abuse.

The 2008 census showed that Florida has more than 4 million residents age 60 or older. Between 2008 and 2009, the Florida Department of Elder Affairs estimated 10 percent of its more than 41,000 reports to concern physical injury. Therefore, to help keep our beloved older family members safe, it is helpful to know the signs of elderly abuse. An elder abuse victim may exhibit physical signs such as bruises, cuts, puncture wounds, etc., but he or she might also show behavioral signs that are clues that might point to elder abuse. A victim may become overly fearful, anxious, agitated, angry, depressed, withdrawn, or he or she might be hesitant to speak what is on his or her mind.

The elderly in our community have the right to be safe and free from harassment and harm. While taking the proper preventative steps can help stem the tide of elder abuse, for far too many, prevention is not enough. Those who have been harmed by elder abuse in any setting, including in a nursing home, can suffer physical, emotional, and financial pain and suffering that can be difficult to overcome.

Fortunately, though, these individuals have legal rights that they can act upon to bring about the best resolution possible. Though legal action can never truly right a wrong, it may go a long way toward helping victims recover their financial losses, finding some closure, and moving past the incidence with the confidence they need to feel that they are addressing this important issue.

Source: Florida Department of Elder Affairs, “Elder Abuse Prevention,” accessed on Sept. 28, 2014