How to Identify Elder Abuse

Proudly Representing the Chattanooga, Nashville and Nearby Atlanta, GA areas for 30 years

Elder abuse is shockingly common. In fact, according to the National Council on Aging, one in 10 Americans over the age of 60 has faced some form of elder abuse, but only one in 24 cases are reported.

If you suspect a loved one is being abused by a caregiver, you should report the abuse to Tennessee's Adult Protective Services (TAPS) group and get in touch with our office for an overview of your legal options right away.

Types of Abuse

The most common types of nursing home abuse are:

  • Physical Abuse. Signs include bruises, broken bones, lacerations, and any other unexplained or suspicious injury
  • Emotional Abuse. Signs include fear around nursing home staff, a withdrawal from the nursing home community, and new behaviors such as rocking or nail-biting
  • Sexual Abuse. Signs include STDs, bruising or injury around the genitals, and pregnancy
  • Neglect. Signs include malnourishment, dehydration, bed sores, and over/under-medication

In many cases, emotional and behavioral changes are an indication of mistreatment. This can include increased depression or anxiety, excessive aggression, and visible fear. It can also include any new or worrisome behaviors, including self-isolation.

What Can You Do?

If you suspect a loved one is suffering abuse or mistreatment at their home, you have several options. When the issue is a single staffer or a handful of staff, talking to management may be enough to correct the problem. But when the scope of mistreatment is excessive or when results cannot be obtained this way, reporting the abuse to TAPS and making an appointment with a nursing home abuse attorney are your next best steps.

If you suspect a loved one is in imminent danger or you believe the abuse has been profound, it may be appropriate to file a police report as well. Criminal proceedings are, however, different than those taken on by an elder abuse lawyer. Even when criminal charges are filed, it is necessary to take civil action if you plan to seek compensatory damages.

Herbert Thornbury has decades of experience helping victims of nursing home abuse get justice. Please call our Chattanooga office at 423-265-1100 to schedule a free case review and learn more about your rights.