Nursing homes and long-term care facilities for the elderly are supposed to be safe havens for our loved ones. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse affects as many as 5,000,000 elders across the country on an annual basis. Many cases go unnoticed or are under-reported. When a nursing home fails to provide proper care for its residents, they can suffer significant physical injuries, psychological damage, and even financial loss.
As people age, they become frailer and less likely to be able to stand up for themselves or fight back. Though indicators can vary, there are common signs of nursing home abuse that are incredibly important to identify. Knowing the signs of elder abuse can help prevent or stop the offenders.
Determining Nursing Home Abuse
Family members, supervisors, and other loved ones might not take elder or nursing home abuse seriously. While the signs of elder abuse often overlap with common medical conditions of the elderly like dementia and mental deterioration, each instance should be investigated. While changes in behavior and personality can be the result of an abusive situation, many other signs can indicate an elderly person is the subject of nursing home abuse, including:
Physical Abuse and Unexplained Injuries
Physical abuse can be particularly damaging for the elderly and their loved ones. Broken bones, bruises, and even head injuries are significant indicators of abuse and/or neglect. Additionally, if an elderly person is being neglected, he or she may attempt to do things for themselves, which can cause falls or other preventable injuries to occur.
Emotional and Psychological Issues
When an elderly person is being abused or neglected, a number of emotional issues can arise. Residents may become afraid of caregivers and reluctant to talk about issues they are dealing with. Residents can become angry or resentful and grow distant from friends and family. Emotional changes should be taken seriously and addressed accordingly.
Lack or Loss of Mobility
Since mobility is a challenge for many nursing home residents, staff members are expected to help them move around, get exercise, and remain as active as possible. Another type of nursing home abuse occurs if patients are left in their beds or rooms for long periods of time without assistance, which can lead to emotional distress and physical problems such as bedsores.
Poor Personal Hygiene and Unsanitary Living Conditions
Nursing home residents often need assistance getting dressed for the day, brushing their teeth, clipping their nails, bathing, and using the restroom. If a resident is left to fend for themselves while unable to perform everyday tasks, it affects their personal hygiene, resulting in unsanitary living conditions.
The elderly are particularly susceptible to financial exploitation. Elder financial abuse can involve unexplained withdrawals bank accounts, missing cash, and unusual goods, services, or subscriptions for which the resident did not likely register.
Protecting Your Loved Ones
When a caregiver is abusing an elderly family member in a nursing home facility, it can have particularly damaging effects on the resident and their loved ones. Due to their age, elderly victims may not even be aware they are being abused or mistreated. Their abusers should be held accountable for their neglectful and hurtful actions.