Houston, TX- Because they are older, often weaker and suffering from health conditions, the elderly are particularly vulnerable to nursing home abuse. Roughly one out ten seniors each year will face abuse or neglect at the hands of a caregiver who can include spouses, children and other family members. Home health workers or nursing home staff can also be abusive.  Since nearly anyone can be an abuser, it’s important for a family to be aware of three of the primary risk factors that may put their elderly loved one at risk of being abused.

Living arrangements: According to the National Institutes of Health, seniors who live in shared living environments are more vulnerable to elder abuse. Based on studies, the NIH says that elderly people who live alone are less likely to be abuse by a caregiver or roommate. One reason is the points of contact; an elderly person who lives in a nursing home or in their home with family members, comes into contact with more people and thus encounter more opportunities for abuse. The more points of contact an elderly person has, the more vulnerable there are to abuse.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s: Alzheimer’s and dementia sufferers are at a greater risk of being abused or neglected than their elderly counterparts who aren’t cognitively impaired, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse. Their diminished mental capacity makes it easy to for them to be exploited since they forget about many events that occurred each day. While they may not realize they are being victimized, a dementia or Alzheimer’s suffer can feel the effects of their abuse long after the abuse occurred just like any other abuse victim.

Taking care of someone suffering from a disorder like Alzheimer’s and dementia can be difficult and frustrating, often pushing a caregiver to lash out at an elderly sufferer.

A poor social network: Being socially isolated also puts the elderly at risk of being abused, mainly because someone is not keeping tabs on their well-being. They may live too far away from friends or loved ones to have regular visits and abusers are well aware of how few visitors they have. Since there is no one to see the signs of abuse or neglect, an elderly person is more likely to be targeted by a caregiver.

If your loved one falls into any, or all, of the above categories, USAttorneys urges you to learn the signs of nursing home abuse or neglect so you can protect them. It’s impossible to guarantee your loved one won’t be the victim of abuse and neglect, but you can takes steps to protect them from suffering too much for too long.

Once you suspect your loved one is being abused or neglected, we urge you to contact a nursing home abuse lawyer in Texas to help you get justice for your loved one. If you live in Houston, we recommend elder law attorney Marian Rosen from the Rosen & Spears law firm. She will stand by your and your loved one and fight vigorously for your rights, so that she can secure a generous settlement for you and your loved one.