Anyone who puts their family member into a nursing home does so with the faith that their loved one will be well taken care of. Unfortunately, in some cases they are not. In some cases, elder abuse may occur and it could have serious, long-term consequences. Learn how to be on the lookout for elder abuse and learn what to do if you suspect it is happening.
Behavior Changes Are Often the First Sign
While people often assume that the first sign of their loved one being abused would be a sign of physical injury, this is rarely the case. Instead, the first sign is generally behavioral. It may be that an elder is afraid to admit to the abuse because they are embarrassed, afraid of retaliation, or simply are not able to speak up for themselves.
If you notice that your loved is suddenly withdrawn, has changed the way they interact with staff, is not talking when you visit or does not want you visit at all, acts jumpy or afraid, shows signs that they are depressed, refuse to accept visitors, are sleeping much more than usual, or are acting out, these could be among the many potential signs that they are being mistreated.
Keep an Especially Close Eye on How They Interact with the Staff
When you visit the location, look at how your loved on interacts with the staff. Does the staff try to prevent you from being alone with your loved one? Do you notice that your loved one suddenly becomes quiet or scared, or otherwise acts differently when the staff is around? These could all be signs that something is not right.
Check Their Living Conditions
You likely checked where they were living before you put them there but you should keep an eye out every time you visit. Is it clean? Do you smell bad smells? Are the sheets and clothing being kept clean for your loved one? Has your loved one experienced unexplained and fast weight loss?
Watch Out for Signs of Physical Abuse
Of course, you will also look for signs of physical abuse. If your loved one has bruises or scratches, or has suffered other injuries that there is no ready excuse for, then you should take note. It is true that older people are more likely to be injured in a fall or other accident but it is also true that those who want to abuse them are likely to use this as an excuse for their injury.
If you suspect that your elder has been the victim of elder abuse then you should contact the police to ensure the safety of your loved one. A personal injury attorney can help you determine what your rights are, and what the rights are of your loved one. Call The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 to learn more about that aspect of the process.