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Elder abuse can occur in nursing home settings

Elder abuse is a problem that plagues many of our nation's older residents. It can occur between members of a family and it can also occur between care givers and their older charges. In New Mexico and communities all throughout the United States senior citizens face serious threats to their physical, mental and financial health when they put their trust in nursing homes and other facilities that purport to provide them with adequate care.

In some cases elder abuse in a nursing home will manifest with visible symptoms. The resident of a nursing or care home may present unexplainable bruising, burns or cuts that may only be caused by the infliction of harm upon them by other individuals. Other signs of abuse may include the presentation of physical injuries that could have been prevented through appropriate supervision and the application of safety protocols.

Emotional or mental abuse can be more difficult to see but can be just as damaging to a victim as physical abuse. A caregiver may intimidate their patient into submitting to their demands and, as a result, the victim may develop difficulties with their sleep, may become depressed or stressed or may experience unexplainable changes in their weight.

It is not uncommon in cases of elder abuse between caregivers and patients for money to be the motivating factor in the infliction of abuse upon the victim. A caregiver who threatens a victim for financial gain commits extortion through their elder abuse and may cause the victim to slide into economic ruin if the abuse goes unchecked.

It is important for victims of elder abuse in nursing homes to have advocates who make their needs the most important priority. Individuals who suspect that their loved ones may be suffering from elder abuse in care or nursing home facilities are encouraged to discuss their fears with attorneys who represent victims of nursing home abuse and neglect.

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