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Elder abuse: You can stop it when you see it

Elder neglect can be caused by anyone from caretakers at nursing home facilities to family members. Neglect is simply failing to meet the needs of an individual, which may result in poor hygiene, poor nourishment, missing medications or leaving an elderly person alone for too long or in harm’s way.

Accusations of neglect may be made when a person sees that a loved one is not receiving attention and care regularly. For example, failing to make sure an elderly person showers or baths several times a week could be neglect on the part of a nursing home.

What isn’t possible to sue for is self-neglect. Self-neglect is when the elderly person begins participating in behaviors that puts themselves in danger, like failing to eat, drink or use medications when indicated. Self-neglect is actually the most common form of elder abuse.

Did you know that approximately 50 percent of elder abuse cases are a direct result of neglect? The research shows that between 700,000 and 1.2 million elderly individuals in the United States have been subjected to mistreatment in the form of neglect or abuse and that there are another 450,000 cases that arise annually.

The best way to help someone you love is to keep an eye on them. Checking in with them regularly can help you identify when there are unusual changes in their behavior or surroundings. Monitoring their personal health as well as their surroundings can help you identify if or when your loved one is in trouble and needs more support than they are receiving where they are.

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