Will you be seeing elderly loved ones this holiday season? If yes, then it is a good opportunity to make sure that their needs are being met.
Unfortunately, health can deteriorate quickly in old age, and elderly individuals are vulnerable to abuse, neglect and financial exploitation. To make sure that your loved one is protected from all of these things, take a careful look for these warning signs:
Does your loved one who lives independently appear very weak or sickly?
The holidays and post-holidays are the busiest time of the year for long-term senior care admissions. After not seeing elderly loved ones for weeks, months or even years, families often realize that their loved ones need help after spending the holidays together.
Are things in your loved ones home out of place or in disarray?
In addition to exhibiting forgetfulness or confusion, there are visual cues in a person's home that can suggest that he or she is suffering from mental disorientation. These signs should never be ignored because they suggest that dementia or another cognitive impairment could be happening.
Does your loved one who lives in a nursing home have injuries or poor personal hygiene?
Injuries such as bruises, broken bones or cuts should always be investigated further to rule out nursing home abuse, which is far too common in Texas and the rest of the country. Poor personal hygiene can suggest nursing home neglect, which is also common.
Does your loved one mention losing money or giving away money?
Scam artists prey on older adults, who they think they can easily take advantage of. In many cases, this behavior is not only immoral, it's also illegal. Our firm has handled many elder investment and financial fraud cases involving unnecessary repairs to homes, dishonest contractors, investment schemes, embezzlement and more.
What to do if you notice red flags
If you notice red flags, whether it is one of the warning signs described above or something else that just doesn't seem right, be sure to take action right away.
Talking to a loved one about long-term care can be difficult for everyone involved, but it is important to get a plan in place before something horrible happens and you regret not acting. It can be helpful to meet with other family members first to determine how to address the issue with your loved ones.
If nursing home abuse or neglect are suspected, speak with the nursing home management immediately and alert the authorities, if necessary. In fact, Texas law requires that anyone who believes that a child, a disabled person or a person over 65 disabilities is being abused, neglected or exploited must report it to the DFPS (Texas Department of Family and Protective Services).
If it appears that an elderly loved one has been victimized by fraud, then talk to an experienced lawyer about suing to recover what has been lost. Your loved one might feel embarrassed about "falling for it," but assure him or her that taking action will avoid other people from being victimized as well.