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Understanding the Difference Between Elder Abuse and Elder Neglect

 Posted on July 02, 2024 in Nursing Home Abuse

 Chicago Elder Abuse LawyerChoosing a nursing home for a loved one can be a very challenging and sad decision. But when loved ones can no longer care for themselves, nursing homes become attractive options to keep your family member safe and as healthy as possible. Given the increased vulnerability of aging individuals, it is important to differentiate between elder abuse and elder neglect, especially in nursing home settings.

While both forms of mistreatment can have terrible consequences, they are different from one another. If you believe your loved one is suffering from either form of mistreatment, contact a lawyer.

Elder Abuse Involves Intentional Harm

Elder abuse in nursing homes involves deliberate actions taken to harm an elderly resident. This can be physical, emotional, sexual, or financial in nature. Physical abuse might involve hitting, pushing, or restraining a resident in an improper fashion. Emotional or psychological abuse can include verbal attacks, intimidation, or isolation. Sexual abuse, although less commonly discussed, is a particularly disturbing type of elder abuse that involves non-consensual sexual activity. Finally, financial abuse could involve unauthorized use of a resident’s funds, property, or assets.

Elder Neglect Involves Care Falling Short

In contrast, elder neglect refers to a failure to meet the basic needs of nursing home residents. It differs from abuse in that neglect can either be accidental or negligent and does not have to stem from malicious intent.

For example, a resident might suffer neglect if he or she is not provided proper nutrition, medical care, or adequate personal hygiene. In some cases, neglect arises from systemic issues like understaffing or lack of proper training.

Distinguishing Abuse from Neglect

The only way to stop elder abuse or elder neglect is by recognizing it in the first place. Be on the lookout for signs of abuse like strange or unexplained injuries, sudden behavioral charges, or fear around certain people, as these may be signs of physical elder abuse. Notice unusual banking activity or missing personal belongings? These may be signs of financial abuse.

Meanwhile, in neglect cases, warning signs may include poor hygiene, untreated medical conditions, a generally unkempt living environment, and more. While they are different forms of mistreatment, both abuse and neglect warrant immediate attention and action.

Contact Our Addison County, IL Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorney

Both elder abuse and neglect carry significant legal consequences. Those found guilty of elder abuse may face criminal charges, potentially resulting in jail time and hefty fines. The legal consequences of elder neglect can be more complex, especially when it relates to accidental lapses in care. However, nursing homes are legally required to provide a standard of care, and failure to do so can lead to civil lawsuits and penalties.

For legal assistance in addressing elder abuse, elder neglect, or both, contact the Will County, IL nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers with Schwartz Injury Law. Call 312-535-4625 for a free consultation.

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