When an elderly person suffers injuries of any kind, it really is more serious than when the same thing happens to a younger person. Even an injury that a young person would think of as relatively minor can have a drastic impact on an elderly person's life.
One reason for this change is that wound healing is much different for the elderly. Some of the major changes include:
- The healing process becomes slower than it used to be.
- Diseases are more common.
- Infections may be more likely or take longer to heal.
- The elderly person's inflammatory response decreases.
- The same is true for the proliferative response.
- Collagen still forms, but it is of a lower quality.
- Aging impacts all phases of wound healing.
For instance, perhaps an elderly person suffered abuse in a nursing home and ended up with an open wound on their leg. That wound can take far longer to heal and the odds that it gets infected are high. If it does get infected, due to the person's compromised healing systems and hindered immune system, the odds are higher that the infection could lead to serious complications or even death.
This does not mean that injuries to younger people shouldn't be taken seriously. They should. But it is still important to know that the ramifications for an elderly person may be far greater. Even "minor" wounds must get effective medical treatment and be taken very seriously.
At the same time, if your loved one suffered as a result of direct physical abuse, it's important for your family to know what other legal steps you can take.