Many aging individuals living in nursing homes all across the U.S. are often subjected to mistreatment, abuse, and neglect all of which can occur in different ways. Unfortunately, many of these people aren’t aware they are the victim of abuse and/or neglect because of the medical conditions they suffer from. That is why it is essential for friends and families of those residing in nursing homes to check on them regularly to assess their condition and overall wellbeing.
A common form of abuse that many nursing home residents become a victim to is sexual abuse. “Sexual abuse of an elderly person occurs when a perpetrator engages in any kind of sexual contact without the person’s consent” [Source: Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN)]. Now, some of the individuals who are sexually abused cannot give consent or fight off a perpetrator simply because they are physically unable to or are not in the right mental state to say no.
Now, although all nursing home residents are at risk of being sexually abused, there are some who are more vulnerable and likely to be a victim of this type of abuse. These three types of residents include:
- An older resident who is physically disabled. Although this person may not be mentally impaired, they need assistance with mobility which hinders them from getting away from someone who is attempting to sexually assault them.
- A resident who is cognitively impaired. This might be a resident who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
- A physically impaired younger resident. This individual, like the older resident who is physically disabled, may be alert and aware but struggles with mobility and needs help getting around.
[Source: National Sexual Violence Resource Center].
What signs may indicate my loved one is being sexually abused?
- The individual stated that they were touched inappropriately by a staff member or even another resident.
- They have bruises around their breasts or genital areas. Although bruising is common among aging individuals, it isn’t when they appear around these areas.
- They have torn, stained, or bloody underclothing.
- They experience vaginal or anal bleeding that cannot be explained.
- They contract unexplained venereal diseases or genital infections. While it is common for an elderly individual to suffer from certain infections as many have poor immune systems that cannot fight off certain viruses and bacteria, they shouldn’t suffer from a genital infection or venereal disease while living in a nursing home unless it was a medical condition they entered the facility with.
- You notice a change in their attitude or behavior.
Now, if you recently visited you relative in a nursing home in or nearby to Fredericksburg, VA and noticed any of the signs mentioned above or any others that have raised your level of concern, you will want to speak with the staff to find out what is going on and why. If you find that you aren’t getting the answers you need yet you know something isn’t right, then consider contacting a Fredericksburg, VA nursing home abuse attorney for some advice and guidance on how you should handle the situation. The fact is, a nursing home misconduct attorney has experience in handling various types of cases that range in severity, therefore, they can help you better understand if your concerns are legitimate and what steps you should take to address them.