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Abuse in Florida Assisted Living Facilities

Choosing the Right Adult Care Facility

With the many options for elder care out there, it is sometimes difficult for family members of an elderly person to choose which setting best fits the lifestyle of the individual. Some facilities offer only daily care during business hours, while others include a wide array of services that range from basic medication management to 24/7 comprehensive care.

Some of the most popular elder care facilities include:

  • Adult day cares
  • Assisted living facilities (ALFs)
  • Nursing homes
  • In-home care, with a nurse or a family member
  • NORCs or Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities

In order to assess which will be the best option for an elderly person’s living arrangements, certain issues need to be considered, including the level of care, accessibility, location, social activities, nursing support, caregiver support, and budget. Thorough research will help determine the best possible choice for an individual looking for an assisted living facility.

What Are Assisted Living Facilities?

Assisted living facilities are a common choice when it comes to elder care. Senior citizens who are able to handle most of their daily activities on their own but who need a bit of assistance may choose an assisted living facility as their residential option.

Assisted living facilities (ALFs) are also knows as residential care, congregate care, and adult care homes. ALFs provide senior citizens assistance with meals, supervision, and medication management, and other professional services. These facilities are regulated at a state level and the services provided may vary.

Elderly Abuse in ALFs

As in any other elderly care setting, abuse is possible in assisted living facilities, and oftentimes goes unnoticed. Family members of residents must keep a watchful eye and alert the authorities if signs of abuse or negligence are noticeable.

Abuse can take many forms, including sexual abuse, healthcare fraud, elder care negligence, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and financial exploitation. Unfortunately, some forms of abuse go unnoticed due to the patient’s inability to voice the abuse, as well as medical conditions that entail memory loss, such as Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive impairments.

Signs of Elderly Abuse

Studies have shown that there is a significant correlation between abuse and the number of beds, nurses, and aides at a facility. Abuse can happen due to lack of staff training or neglect. Elderly patients with dementia are more prone to abuse by staff members.

Here are some important signs to watch for when suspecting abuse:

  • Bruises and cuts
  • Soiled underwear
  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Dirty clothes
  • Burns or blisters
  • Significant changes in bank account balances
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Unusual behavior or withdrawal

Family members of an elderly individual living in an assisted living facility should watch for these signs of abuse and not be afraid to ask questions and investigate the situation.

Risks of Elder Abuse in Assisted Living Facilities

Anyone can be a target of abuse or neglect in ALFs. That’s why it’s important to ask for references before choosing a facility. However, some elders are more susceptible to abuse from an ALF staff member than others. Here are some of the factors that might contribute to abuse:

  • Individuals who are isolated
  • Mentally ill patients with, for example, dementia
  • Patients with a history of family abuse

Protecting Your Elderly Family Member From Abuse

State laws protect senior citizens from abuse. The abuser may suffer severe criminal penalties if found guilty. The suspicion of abuse must be investigated in a timely manner to put a stop to the pain and agony of the abused elder.

In cases where immediate help is needed, dial 911. For less urgent cases, contact Adult Protective Services (APS) or the U.S. Administration on Aging’s Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116.

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