According to the American Health Care Association (AHCA) and the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL), nearly one million seniors live in assisted living communities. These communities provide staff members who help older adults with daily activities. Unfortunately, these long-term care facilities can also be where a member of your family experiences elder abuse, neglect, or negligence. With that in mind, what constitutes assisted living abuse?
The following provides fundamentals of assisted living communities and how to identify cases of elder abuse. After, you will learn how to get help if a loved one is not receiving the level of care they deserve.
What is assisted living?
Many senior care options help older adults meet their day-to-day needs. Nursing homes, assisted living care, and home health care all provide different levels of care for the elderly.
When a senior requires round-the-clock attention, they will normally opt to live in a nursing home. However, not all seniors require 24/7 assistance from medical staff. Therefore, seniors that need less attention may choose to live in assisted living facilities. These communities offer staff to help residents complete everyday tasks. It is a great option for higher-functioning adults that prefer to maintain a level of independence.
How do assisted living facilities help elderly residents?
Assisted living facilities typically improve the lives of elderly residents. Services can include:
- Assistance completing daily activities
- 24/7 supervision
- Health care services
- Dietary, dining, and meal services
- Disability and medical condition programs
According to 2019 AHCA and NCAL statistics, most assisted living residents stay for an average of two years before transitioning to a skilled nursing home. Therefore, assisted living communities are often starter communities for seniors before they move on to specialized services.
With that said, any time a senior relies on others for assistance, there is a risk of elder abuse.
What constitutes assisted living abuse?
Assisted living abuse is any elder abuse that takes place in an assisted living facility. It can occur between a resident and an assisted living staff member or between two residents of an assisted living community.
As a West Palm Beach elder abuse lawyer, there are several forms of elder abuse that we specialize in, including:
- Physical abuse. This can include actions such as hitting residents, handling residents roughly, or being physically aggressive.
- Psychological abuse. Verbal abuse, making harsh remarks, and ignoring residents are all forms of psychological abuse.
- Sexual abuse. Non-consensual sexual acts between staff members, residents, or other individuals and residents is sexual abuse.
- Neglect. Any action or inaction where a caregiver does not meet a standard of wellbeing for a resident is elder neglect.
Why do we hear more about nursing home abuse?
While assisted living homes cater more to the elderly that need less specialized assistance, residents in nursing facilities often have multiple medical conditions. There are also fewer skilled nursing facilities that house more residents on average than licensed assisted living facilities.
Due to the higher level of functioning with assisted living residents, nursing home abuse often receives more public awareness. However, assisted living residents, especially those with physical and mental impairments, are just as susceptible to elder abuse.
How can you identify abuse in assisted living communities?
There are two major reasons why abuse at these facilities goes unidentified or unreported.
- Elderly residents may fail to communicate incidents of abuse.
- It can be a challenge for an elderly resident’s family to identify elder abuse.
For these reasons, family members should visit their loved ones frequently to ensure their physical and emotional wellbeing. If you ever notice any warning signs of elder abuse such as sudden changes in mood, bruises, or unattended medical needs, contact a Boca Raton elder abuse lawyer immediately.
Assisted Living Negligence Laws
Assisted living negligence covers a wide range of behaviors that cause harm to seniors. It can include physical, psychological, and sexual abuses. Additionally, assisted living negligence includes situations where there is a failure to exercise a level of care that someone else would provide in an analogous situation.
Find an Assisted Living Abuse Lawyer
If you believe that your family or loved one has been the victim of assisted living abuse, work with an experienced assisted living abuse lawyer in Florida. Contact Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath with information about your experience. Alternatively, you can complete a free case evaluation form below to receive help with litigating your case.