The growing abuse of the elderly in Florida who in many instances are incapable of defending themselves s in any way was highlighted by a recent decision in an Illinois court. The jury’s decision to award more than five million dollars to a licensed practical nurse who risked her job to do the right thing and report elder abuse by her employer is an example of what happens much too infrequently in Florida nursing homes.
The nurse was requested by a supervisor to administer an extra dose of medicine to calm down an agitated patient who had dementia. She refused. She went the extra mile and reported this violation of the law to her company. She was terminated after being with the company for 19 months. Her victory is a victory for elder abuse.
Elder abuse happens in many forms in institutions and in families. The incidence of elder abuse has grown in the last few decades because the number of older people has increased. The most prominent problem with aging is the loss of the capacity to defend yourself against people who seek to prey on you.
Recent studies show that between seven percent and 10 percent of the elderly suffer some type of abuse at least once a year if not consistently. The data from the National Center on Elder Abuse indicates that the rate of abuse has been growing and will continue to do so.
Abuse in institutions like nursing homes and hospitals is easily covered up. Employees are hesitant to report abuse in fear of losing their jobs. Records can be altered. Films can be edited to show that a person’s claim of abuse never happened.
This does not mean that every institution practices these tactics but an experienced personal injury attorney in Florida may be the best resource for discovering abuse that is well hidden by so-called caregivers.
Family members are often just as guilty of abusing their elderly relatives as any employee of an institution. The stress of dealing with an aging parent or the opportunity to exact vengeance on a formerly abusive parent may be too great for some individuals. Whatever the supposed justification, abuse of an elderly person is a violation of Florida law and federal law.
The abuse of the elderly takes a variety of forms. Physical abuse is often the most easy to recognize. Mental abuse and verbal abuse can be as damaging as physical abuse. Many elderly see their life savings disappear due to financial predators. Many elderly cannot defend themselves from sexual predators.
Certain factors have been shown to make a person more liable to be a target for elder abuse in Florida. These include being a victim of dementia or Alzheimer’s. The abuser can claim the person does not remember the abusive event.
Having a previous abusive episode and being afraid to report abuse can make abuse continue. People who do not have a life partner any longer are more likely to be abused. This makes women more of a target for abuse because women live longer than men.
Reporting abuse can be a difficult procedure. Telling on your relatives can be upsetting. Contacting a personal injury attorney in Florida when you first suspect that an elderly relative is an abuse victim can be a path to a permanent solution to abuse.