As our loved ones age, we sometimes find we are no longer able to tend to their medical needs. Even with the time and desire to take care of elderly family members, without the proper training and round-the-clock medical supervision it just isn’t safe. Fortunately, there is support available. Senior living, nursing homes, and elder care are options that allow families to care for their loved ones, even as their physical and emotional needs change with age.
Though many of these facilities provide adequate care, sadly there are those that expose our loved ones to abuse. If you have a senior loved one living in a nursing home or receiving care from anyone you are not 100 percent positive you can trust, it’s important you watch for signs of elder abuse and take action the moment you suspect a problem.
Nursing home abuse covers a wide range of acts. It can be physical or sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, or exploitation. It’s possible that elder abuse can occur inside of a person’s own home, but when a loved one is living in a nursing home the ability to monitor that person’s well-being 24 hours a day is impossible. You’re relying on strangers to care for your relative and you must be aware of the potential for abuse.
According to the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, elder abuse is defined as, “any form of mistreatment that results in harm or loss to an older person.” The US Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living broadens that definition by stating elder abuse is “a term referring to any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult.”Read More
Preventing elder abuse requires that you be attentive and watchful where the health and well being of your loved one is concerned. Understand that no facility is 100% safe from these crimes, and up to 30% of nursing homes in the US have had abuse lawsuits filed against them. According to the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, up to 550,000+ elderly citizens in the US are subject to some form of abuse in nursing homes and care facilities every single year.
What are the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse?
Sometimes it’s easy to recognize nursing home abuse. You might visit a loved one and notice bruises, broken bones, or burn marks that indicate violent behavior. There might also be bed sores or pressure marks, decrease in hygiene, or weight loss, which can all be signs of neglect.
Nursing home abuse does not always involve physical mistreatment though. Approximately 20 percent of reported elder abuse was emotional, while just 16 percent was physical. Three percent involved sexual abuse. Though it’s important to watch for signs of physical abuse, you should also know that abuse doesn’t always mean bumps and bruises. You need to be aware of the signs of emotional abuse that include:
Essentially, any change you notice in a loved one’s attitude, demeanor, or mood that cannot be explained by a medical reason should be cause for concern. As people age, they can face a variety of challenges that are related to physical and emotional changes. A disruption in mood or “bad day” might not be a sign of abuse, but it can be. It’s important you take any sign seriously and do what you can to ensure your loved one is safe.