We send our loved ones to nursing homes to ensure that experienced caregivers will look after them and satisfy their medical and personal needs. However, one of the risks of nursing homes is that we cannot be with our loved ones all the time, making it hard to know whether the caregivers treat them right. Unfortunately, abuse is common. A study showed that abuse affects 1 in 10 elders in the United States.
Identifying abuse and neglect
Caregivers sometimes neglect seniors because the nursing home does not train or pay them properly. In other cases, abusers can see seniors as “easy targets” and take advantage of their employer’s trust. Abuse could be psychological, financial, physical, or sexual, but you may not know exactly what to look for. Often, a person abused or neglected may show signs of:
- Poor personal hygiene: dirty clothes, unwashed hair, bad smell or overgrown nails.
- Unexplained injuries: broken bones, bruises, dislocations, sprains or rope marks on their wrists.
- Sudden change in personality: fear of being touched, agitation, biting their nails, rocking or aggressive responses.
- Poor environment: bugs in the room or dirty floors, bed sheets or clothes.
- Malnourishment: extreme weight loss, dry mouth, dry lips or a swollen tongue.
- Changes in their financial situation: unexplained withdrawals from their bank account, missing cash, unusual subscriptions or added names to their credit accounts.
- Medication problems: confusion, drowsiness or sleeping all the time.
Keep in mind that the elders usually feel afraid or threatened to speak out about their abuse. But these warning signs will help you uncover the truth.
Ensuring that a nursing home faces consequences for the harm it caused your loved one, may prevent others from facing a similar situation