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What are non-physical forms of assisted living abuse?

If you have a loved one living in an assisted living facility or nursing home in Maryland, it is important to be mindful of potential abuse. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, those who experience abuse face a risk of death that is 300 percent higher than those not abused. Elderly folks living away from family and friends can be placed in vulnerable situations and may not always be able to communicate the presence of neglect and abuse. For this reason, it is important that those around them keep an eye out for flags.

While physical forms of abuse are the most commonly documented, plenty of others can be present but more difficult to see, such as isolation, verbal abuse or financial exploitation. Isolation may be an issue if the facility or an employee is preventing the resident from reaching out to you or other loved ones, denying access to correspondence or if visits are restricted or denied. Verbal or psychological abuse can include harassment, speaking in a degrading manner, or even intentionally ignoring the patient as a form of discipline or punishment. Financial exploitation can occur if the resident is being taken advantage of in a way that cons them out of money, if their belongings are used sans permission or if property is stolen.

Diminished contact can be a red flag that there is a problem. Keep an eye out for changes in your loved one’s personality or demeanor and document what belongings he or she has at the assisted living facility. If you feel something is not quite right, act immediately to assess the situation.

This post is to be used as an educational resource and should not be substituted for legal counsel.

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