It’s an unfortunate fact that elder abuse is a big problem in the United States today. People in Georgia need to know that as many as 5 million senior citizens are abused and neglected in this country annually. Though these statistics are shocking, it’s important to confront them. Without doing so, it may not be possible to make things better.

How are elders abused?

Up to 10% of elderly Americans are abused physically, sexually or emotionally. They are also sometimes neglected passively by people who don’t supply them with needed goods like food or clothing. Sometimes, people willfully deprive seniors of things that they need. By denying an elderly person assistance, access to devices they need or medication, caretakers expose them to potential harm.

Who is abusing elders?

Unfortunately, the people whom seniors should be able to trust the most are the ones who abuse them. This includes their adult children, their spouses and the staff at assisted living facilities. Up to 60% of the people who abuse senior citizens in the United States are their family members.

How to get help

People should be aware of the signs and symptoms of elder and nursing home abuse. These can include bruises, broken bones, emotional strain, weight loss, bed sores and sudden changes in mood. If an older person becomes depressed or withdrawn with no real explanation, it’s a good idea to inquire as to why.

Seniors with mental impairments are particularly vulnerable. If you suspect that an elderly person is being abused, it’s important to document the dates and times. You may want to contact law enforcement and consider retaining a lawyer who is experienced in handling these delicate cases.