Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes

When people think of abuse in nursing homes, they tend to focus on physical and emotional pain inflicted upon elderly individuals. However, another type of abuse is present in nursing homes, and it can be just as damaging as the aforementioned types of abuse. Sexual abuse of the elderly is not an uncommon problem, especially because those in nursing homes may not have their claims believed. It is easy to understand how the elderly could be targets for abuse. As they may be in an incapacitated state or have few loved ones around them, they are especially vulnerable and dependent upon their caretakers.

It is extremely important to note that in the case of sexual abuse of the elderly, it is not merely the ability of a person to voice opposition to sexual advances that is necessary to bring charges. If a person does not have the mental capabilities to consent to sexual contact, any sexual contact between the incapable person and another is sufficient for a charge of sexual abuse. A person must have the ability to consent to sexual contact for it to be permissible.

Sexual Assault Case Example

While it is important to bring offenders to justice for perpetrating acts of elderly abuse, one case describes perfectly why one should obtain legal assistance when such an event occurs. In this case an 89-year-old woman and was raped by her 30-year-old nursing assistant in Minnesota.

Doubting Elderly Victims of Abuse

While the court sentenced the abuser to four years in prison, the 89-year old woman received no counseling or assistance after reporting the sexual assault. The police also confined her to the mental health unit of a hospital for three days subsequent to the attack. According to the article, the nursing home seemed to doubt her statements because of the early signs of dementia that she had shown. Because elderly people in nursing homes may suffer from mental deficiencies, their claims and statement may be less likely to be believed. Every year, elderly people in nursing home are victims of abuse. If you know someone who claims to be the victim of such abuse, it is imperative that you contact a legal representative to assure both the prosecution for the crime and the proper counseling and assistance for recovery from such a terrible event.

Civil Damages

While one is able to witness the prosecution of the criminal, this article also shows that you or your loved ones may be able to receive civil damages as well. In this case, the woman’s family decided to sue the nursing home for the actions of the nursing assistant. This comes from the principle of vicarious liability. In this case, a court could reasonably impute liability to the nursing home if they believed that the nursing home had improperly monitored the nursing assistant or had an obligation do so and neglected that responsibility.

If you believe that a loved person may have been the victim of elderly abuse, do not hesitate to contact the Appel Law Firm LLP. We have experience in helping elder abuse victims, and we may be able help you begin filing a claim today.

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