Too often elderly people who are bedridden or use a wheelchair develop pressure ulcers. An area of skin breaks down when the individual stays in one position too long. The pressure against the skin reduces the blood supply and the tissue dies. This happens in nursing homes or care facilities that are neglecting or abusing their residents.
Do not know what to look for? A pressure ulcer begins with red skin, which forms a blister. It then becomes an open sore and ends as a crater. These usually form on an elbow, heel, back of the head, shoulders or hips.
If you see anything like this on your elderly parent or friend, contact a medical professional at once. An infection can spread to the rest of the body. Signs to look for are redness and tenderness around the ulcer; skin is warm, maybe swollen and finally a foul odor coming from the spot. If your parent or friend has a fever and seems to be confused, these, too, are signs that the infection may have spread.
If your loved one shows any of these signs, I urge you to contact an experienced Elder Abuse attorney immediately.
Elder abuse is not a new thing
Even though elder abuse has been perpetrated for a very long time in this country, it did not get any attention until 1981. It was then that the Select Committee on Aging held hearings where elders reported their actual experiences. Statistics show that close to 2 million Americans are victims of elder abuse each year.
In Maricopa County, Arizona Adult Protective Services handles about 10,000 cases each year. The Mesa Police Department, working closely with Adult Protective Services and the Arizona Attorney General’s office, offers training on elder abuse. An elderly person does not always report an abuse. He or she is afraid of retaliation by the abuser. He or she is afraid of loneliness. Only one in every 14 cases is reported.
In many cases, the abuser is the adult child or the caregiver. I cannot stress this enough – if you know someone who is a victim of elder abuse, please report it and if you need help, please contact an experienced Elder Abuse attorney.