In our society, we try to protect those who are unable to protect themselves. The groups of people that may be most often thought of as unable to protect themselves are children and the disabled, but it is important to remember that in many cases, this is true of the elderly as well. If you have an elderly loved one who you have placed in a nursing home, or under in-home care, you know that this person needs to be protected from various forms of abuse and neglect. Of course, in most cases caregivers take their roles and responsibilities very seriously and provide wonderful, compassionate care for our elders as they enter their twilight years. Unfortunately, there are, as always, exceptions.
The most common form of elder abuse is physical abuse according to the National Center on Elder Abuse. Colorado Statute defines physical abuse as “infliction of physical pain or injury” or “unreasonable confinement or restraint.” Aside from the obvious, beating or otherwise physically assaulting an elder, the unreasonable use of restraint straps would be considered physical abuse. These forms of abuse may be particularly harmful, because in many cases, victims of physical abuse may come to believe that the suffering they feel is their own fault. In this way, physical abuse can lead directly to emotional abuse.
Mandatory reporting of abuse, mistreatment, or self-neglect of elders, as of May 16, 2013, is now required in Colorado, for certain professionals and caregivers. Reports are made to a law enforcement agency not more than 24 hours after making the observation or discovery. People who do report are immune for reports made in good faith.
What can be especially troubling is the fact that there are so many different people who may be responsible for physical abuse. If you see the warning signs of abuse, don’t be silent. Your family needs your help. The abuser may be a caregiver, a staff member at a nursing home, and it may even be another family member. If you believe that your elder loved one has been physically abused, there are many resources available to you to get help. Rhett Meyer is an experienced Colorado Elder Abuse Lawyer who can help you restore the dignity and respect that your family deserves. Rhett can help you to resources for support and guidance, and can help you navigate the complex legal system surrounding the rights of your loved one and the responsibilities of caregivers. For more information and a free consultation, contact Rhett today at (303) 444-1618.