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Can Assisted Living Residents Sue for Abuse and Neglect?

As people enter their retirement years and beyond, their needs change. They may want to downsize to a smaller and more manageable home. They may also desire more convenience, safety, and easier access to medical care. To meet those needs, there are three levels of care for seniors: senior living communities, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes.

The Major Differences in Senior Living Arrangements

Senior living communities are designed to meet the needs of older individuals, but the needs they meet depend on their age, health, and overall level of independence:

  • In senior living communities, residents typically live alone or with their spouses. They may receive minor medical assistance and in-home visits, or none at all, depending on their health.
  • In assisted living facilities, residents live mostly independently, but they may receive daily assistance from staff members for things like getting in and out of bed, going to the bathroom, and dressing themselves.
  • In nursing homes, residents typically require frequent or constant supervision, and they may need help with most daily tasks, especially managing their medical needs.

When people think about seniors being abused and neglected, they often think of nursing homes. But people in assisted living facilities and even some senior living communities also have frequent contact with staff members who are supposed to help, but may instead harm them.

Abuse and Neglect in Assisted Living Facilities is Similar to Nursing Homes

Because assisted living residents typically still need frequent, hands-on care from staff members, their risk of being abused and neglected is comparable to nursing home residents. The types of abuse and neglect that assisted living residents may suffer includes:

  • Physical abuse—Assisted living residents may be physically struck, pushed, pulled, or even forcibly restrained by caregivers. Forced feeding can also constitute physical abuse.
  • Sexual abuse—Residents are at risk of sexual abuse, which can occur while they receive help bathing, using the bathroom, changing clothes, or getting in and out of bed.
  • Psychological abuse—Residents may be humiliated, degraded, bullied, or yelled at by caregivers. However, sometimes not speaking can count as psychological abuse, especially when it involves prolonged periods of silence or ignoring residents’ questions and needs.
  • Financial abuse—Even the healthiest and most independent assisted living residents can fall victim to financial abuse, as it often involves caregivers manipulating them into giving them money or even changing residents’ wills to benefit themselves.
  • Lack of assistance—Residents are neglected when they don’t receive the care they need. Although assisted living residents may need less care overall than nursing home residents, they still need help with many everyday tasks. Not receiving the assistance they need can be considered neglect.

Assisted Living Residents May Be Less Likely to Speak Out

Because many assisted living residents can still go about their days with some degree of autonomy and independence, they may be less likely to tell loved ones and other caregivers about what’s happening to them. They may fear that they will be moved into full-fledged nursing homes or that they will be moved to lower-quality facilities.

If you have a loved one living in an assisted living facility, it’s important to always be on the lookout for signs of abuse and neglect. No matter how healthy and independent they are or seem, they may be victims of mistreatment that can put their health, wellbeing, and even their lives at risk.

We Build Successful Assisted Living Abuse and Neglect Claims

Many families feel less anxiety about their loved ones when they live in assisted living facilities versus nursing home facilities. It’s comforting to know that your family member only needs some degree of assistance with daily tasks rather than constant supervision and care. Unfortunately, assisted living residents aren’t immune to abuse and neglect, especially when their facilities are understaffed or hire inexperienced caregivers.

At Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers, we work hard to help all types of elder residents get compensation after abuse and neglect, whether they live in senior communities, assisted living facilities, or nursing homes. Contact our Oklahoma nursing home abuse lawyers today for a free consultation. We’ll do everything in our power to get your family the maximum settlement for your loved one’s mistreatment.