Abusing and exploiting the elderly and individuals with developmental disabilities happens more than any of us would like to think. Unfortunately, because these people tend to be viewed as weak, vulnerable, and less likely to report such instances, they are often regarded as easy targets.
Three separate incidents that took place at residential care facilities in New Jersey over the past three years highlight how frequently such abuse occurs – as well as the many forms it can take:
- In the first case, two aides were charged with physically abusing a resident at a facility which cares for adults and children with developmental disabilities. Charged with conspiracy, neglect of a disabled person, and endangering another person, the aides struck the resident in the face, twisted his hand and wrist, forcefully restrained him to his bed, and forced a urine-soaked towel on his face.
- In the second case, a woman was charged with stealing more than $20,000 from an elderly nursing home resident over whom she had power of attorney.
- Finally, a woman was charged with forgery and identity theft in order to get a job as a certified nurse’s aide at a long-term rehabilitation center. Prosecutors said the woman had assumed a false identity to get the job after her own certification had been revoked.
Abuse Can Take Many Forms
These are but three examples of how vulnerable individuals can be abused and exploited. The sad truth, though, is that individuals with developmental disabilities are four-to-10 times more likely to face such abuse than their peers without disabilities. For the elderly, the numbers are even more staggering: more than two million seniors are mistreated each year in the U.S.
If you have a loved one who is a resident at a long-term care facility, it’s important for you to recognize that abuse can take many forms – from physical or sexual assaults to bullying and emotional abuse designed to whittle away at a person’s dignity.
Elderly and disabled individuals also face far less obvious forms of abuse. It’s not unusual, for example, for abusers to threaten to manipulate medications or withhold access to assistive equipment and technology in order to control behavior. At-risk individuals are also vulnerable to blackmail, theft, and other forms of fraud.
What to Do If You Suspect Abuse
If you suspect a loved one who resides in a long-term care facility is being abused, it’s your duty to call the authorities. But don’t stop there. You should also contact our nursing home abuse attorneys to determine your legal rights. We have over 30 years of experience in working with clients nationwide whose loved ones are victims of all forms of abuse. All of our services are free, and you pay nothing unless we win a settlement or verdict. You can reach us at 800-794-0444 or online at NursingHomeInjuries.com.