Abuse and neglect happen in nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the country. This abuse very often occurs at the hands of professionals – the very same professionals who are supposed to keep your loved ones safe.

You may be asking yourself what makes the elderly vulnerable to abuse, and this is a worthwhile question. The answer could prevent future abuse from happening to your loved one and other elderly people in vulnerable positions. 

If your loved one has experienced elder abuse, contact an experienced elder law attorney who can build your case and fight for compensation on behalf of you and your elder.

What is elder abuse? 

According to Florida Statute 415.102(1), abuse is defined as, “any willful act or threatened act by a relative, caregiver, or household member which causes or is likely to cause significant impairment to a vulnerable adult’s physical, mental, or emotional health, including acts and omissions.” 

Elder abuse can be subtle by taking the form of neglect, or it can be shockingly outright and manifest as physical and verbal abuse. Additionally, when nursing homes and facilities deliberately understaff their buildings to turn a better profit, they’re also engaging in elder abuse. 

What makes the elderly vulnerable to abuse?

Taking care of the elderly can be a rewarding experience for both professionals and family members. However, the tasks are too demanding for some. 

When nursing home facilities staff is underpaid and overworked, this is a recipe for disaster. What makes the elderly vulnerable to abuse isn’t always immediately apparent because the risk factors may have to do more with the caretaking facility rather than the individual.

Risk factors in a caretaking facility that increase the chances of elder abuse include:

  • Understaffing
  • Too many responsibilities for staff 
  • Lack of support from management
  • Depression or anxiety in the caregiver 
  • Substance abuse on the part of the caregiver 
  • Undertrained or underqualified staff 
  • A lack of security and safety procedures 

While every caregiver likely experiences moments of intense pressure and frustration, there is never an excuse to commit elder abuse. Both caretakers of the elderly and nursing homes have a duty to protect their residents at all times, regardless of how stressful things can get. 

There are also certain factors and conditions that make individuals more susceptible to elder abuse: 

  • Dementia or Alzheimer’s 
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Degenerative neurological disorders 
  • A combative nature that escalates to verbal or physical aggression
  • A history of domestic violence
  • The elder’s own role as an abusive spouse or parent in the past 

It’s a sad reality that the most vulnerable people within the elderly population are the most at risk of becoming victims of elder abuse. The stress of eldercare gets to caretakers, leading to them taking their anger out on the very person they’re supposed to be caring for. 

Fighting for Victims of Elder Abuse and Neglect

Once you are aware of what factors make the elderly vulnerable to abuse, you can better protect your loved ones and the elderly in your life. 

Do you suspect a loved one is being abused or neglected? If so, take action immediately. If memory loss or a neurological disorder is present, there’s a good chance the person being abused doesn’t fully understand what’s going on. 

It’s also likely that they are fearful of retaliation from the abuser, which is why they are afraid to report it. 

Proving elder abuse can be complicated. You need solid evidence for a viable claim to stand. Rather than fight this alone, contact an experienced elder abuse lawyer. 

Contact an Elder Abuse Lawyer Today to Protect Your Loved Ones

The skilled elder abuse lawyers at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath know what it takes to build a solid case for elder abuse. They’ll help you collect evidence, navigate the state laws surrounding elder abuse and nursing home responsibilities, and will fight for compensation on you and your loved one’s behalf. 

Take action to protect the elderly. Contact our team at (561) 655-1990 so we can guide you and litigate your case. 

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