Despite having a lifetime’s worth of experiences and wisdom, elderly people are at a high risk of abuse and neglect. One of the most common forms is known as involuntary seclusion.
Agencies like the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse try to promote awareness of these issues each year through outreach events such as the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
Involuntary seclusion is one of the most commons form of elderly abuse, but what exactly does it entail? We’ll examine common forms of involuntary seclusion, as well as a course of action to follow if you or an elderly family member has experienced this kind of neglect or abuse.
Understanding Different Types of Abuse and Neglect
To understand what involuntary seclusion is, we’ll first examine the two foremost categories of non-physical elder abuse:
- Abandonment–Overwhelmed by responsibility, or simply lazy, many caretakers purposely desert senior citizens in public locations such as a shopping area or parking lot. Though the senior’s mental acuity should be taken into account, law enforcement takes reports of elderly abandonment very seriously.
- Neglect–The current definition of neglect is a failure to adequately protect seniors from danger, in addition to not meeting an elderly person’s nutritional, pharmaceutical, or hygienic needs.
Involuntary seclusion is much closer to neglect, although in cases of extreme seclusion, authorities usually perform a thorough investigation to rule out the possibility of abuse by the caretaker or nursing facility. Though there are occasionally other culprits behind this neglect, this type of senior seclusion is usually the sign of a negligent caregiver, and unfortunately this happens in many nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Common Warning Signs of Involuntary Seclusion
If you think an elderly loved one is suffering from involuntary seclusion, consider some of the common warning signs. Involuntary seclusion usually involves confinement of some kind:
- The senior citizen is prevented from leaving their room or another confined space.
- The elderly person is cut off from contact with friends, family, and peers.
- The senior citizen is prevented from enjoying basic activities and running errands that are allowed to other residents.
- Seniors are denied access to communications such as mail, the telephone, or a computer.
- The caregiver or nurse seems indifferent, or even takes an aggressive attitude toward the elderly patient.
- The senior suffers from rashes and bed sores. These symptoms are a sign not only of neglect, but often of confinement as well
Involuntary seclusion is a serious problem. If you or an elderly loved one has suffered from this or any type of neglect and/or abuse, you should contact the authorities, as well as an experienced elder care or personal injury attorney.
Understanding an Elderly Patient’s Rights
Rectifying a situation of involuntary seclusion is up to you. Sadly, a large percentage of elder abuse occurs because they no longer have the mental and/or physical capacity to reach out for the help they so dearly need.
A helpful resource is the National Institute on Aging informational page about involuntary seclusion.
In the end, no resource is more valuable than the counsel of an experienced lawyer like a personal injury lawyer Phoenix AZ relies on. They may be able to obtain financial remuneration for the victims. An experienced attorney with knowledge of involuntary seclusion cases can help you understand your rights and your legal options.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Alex & Saavedra, P.C. for their insight into nursing home negligence cases.