As the number of elderly people in the U.S. continues to rise, so has the number of people seeking home health care for those who need help with daily activities.
An estimated 63 percent of people who need this type of care are 65 and older, and 15 million people who receive care have Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. And in some instances, there is a correlation between elder abuse and home health services.
In fact, a study by the Senate Special Committee on Aging found that five million elderly people suffer abuse each year.
That’s why it’s so important for loved ones to understand how to detect signs of possible abuse, so they can pursue legal action against those who take advantage of the helpless.
Warning Signs of Elder Abuse and Home Health Services
Abuse comes in many forms, including physical and psychological abuse, as well as neglect.
The signs of physical abuse include:
- Scratch marks
- Unexplained fractures
The signs of psychological abuse include:
- Sudden lack of communication
- Refusal to see visitors
- Nervous or anxious reaction to caregiver
- Unexplained depression
The signs of neglect include:
- Unkempt or dirty appearance
- Unwashed clothes
- Unwashed linens
- Unexplained weight loss
- Dirty house or apartment
One other type of abuse that is lesser known is financial exploitation.
Home health care caregivers who work with patients that have cognitive disabilities or that suffer from Alzheimer’s can take advantage of this situation by trying to steal money, or by profiting from the patient’s financial success.
If your loved one is under the care and supervision of a home health care worker, you should check financial statements once a week to ensure that there are no unusual purchases or cash withdrawals.
You should also check credit card statements to ensure that there have not been any purchases that would not make sense for your loved one.
And you should also make sure that your loved one doesn’t leave cash around the home where it will provide a temptation for the caregiver. Being proactive in these matters can help prevent financial exploitation, which can do as much harm to your loved one’s future as physical and psychological abuse.
Abuse Is Against the Law
The most basic truth about elder abuse and home health services is that it is against the law, and therefore should never be tolerated. Many elders who suffer abuse are infirm or suffer from mental health problems, which make them easy targets for people without a conscience. If you or a loved one have suffered abuse through a home health service, or if you have suffered abuse at a nursing home, please call the experienced legal team of Miller Weber Kory, LLP at 602-648-4055 for a free legal consultation.