Nursing home abuse is a huge problem that no senior citizen should have to worry about, but it is a daily occurrence in this country. It is imperative that anyone who is in a nursing home, and those who have a loved one in such a setting, take steps to ensure they are safe.
Not all nursing home abuse and neglect are blatantly obvious. Many of the issues that occur are subtle and difficult to spot. You should familiarize yourself with the signs of different types of abuse.
Neglect means that the nursing home resident isn't receiving the care they should. Instead of providing them with regular meals, toileting help and other assistance, the nurses and aides leave them to their own devices. It is also possible that they might have medication or health care needs that are left unmet. These can be very serious in the aging population.
Physical abuse is often signaled by bruises or other outward marks but there are many other signs that you should watch for. Dislocated joints, sprains, fractures, broken eyeglasses and irregularities with medication administration can all point to physical abuse.
When it comes to the medication, the staff might provide heavier doses of pain medications in an effort to stop the resident from complaining of pain from the abuse. Even frequent reports of falls can signal this type of abuse or neglect.
Many seniors in nursing homes don't have much in the way of assets, especially if they count on government programs to pay the bill. Still, some workers in nursing homes will try to exploit these vulnerable adults. Unusual withdrawals from the senior's bank account, cash or items missing from the room and anything else that just doesn't seem right financially might mean something is amiss. Sudden changes to the will or estate plan or the addition of names to the senior's bank accounts demand immediate action.
Staff members might not always be nice to the residents. Emotional abuse, including belittling the resident, threatening them or using other methods to control them can have a negative impact on the victim. In some cases, the person might have behavior trends similar to dementia. These include mumbling things to themselves, rocking in place or sucking on their finger.
One sign that can occur with all of these forms of elder abuse is that the employees are apprehensive about allowing the family members or friends to spend time with the resident alone. If you notice they are hovering, you might consider taking your loved one somewhere private to speak to them and find out what's really going on.