Both elder abuse and elder neglect can be very detrimental to an elderly individual who is living in a nursing home or an assisted living center. It could cause them physical harm or emotional distress. In some cases, neglect and abuse go so far that the person passes away prematurely.
But, while these two things are in some ways very similar, there are some significant differences to consider.
What is abuse?
Elder abuse is typically direct harm or the threat of physical harm. The other person (the caregiver or member of the nursing home staff) is intentionally causing this harm. Often, the signs that family members will notice are unexplained bruises, lacerations or other such injuries.
What is neglect?
Neglect, on the other hand, is when the person simply does not get the care that they need. The care workers aren’t intentionally harming them, but they are failing to provide the necessary assistance. An example of this could be if an elderly person pushes the alert button in the room and no one responds.
Do these ever happen together?
In some cases, harm could be caused by a blend of the two. For example, maybe the care worker is frustrated with that elderly individual, so they intentionally ignore the alert call. They’re not causing direct physical harm through action, like striking them, but they are still intentionally doing something that puts the other individual in greater danger.
What comes next?
No matter how a loved one suffers harm, it’s very important for family members to understand all of their legal options. There are steps they can take to put an end to the abuse or neglect and potentially to get compensation for injuries.