Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
One of the most stressful events you can imagine taking place over the course of your life is just that–growing old. Even before you hit the magic age when you start to feel the clock ticking down, you may have to struggle with making another choice: do you put an aging loved one who is currently in your care in a nursing home, or do you continue to provide care without the help you need because you think it’s what that person would want? It’s an impossible choice. For those who choose to place a loved one in the care of others, it can turn into an even bigger nightmare if there are signs of abuse. But how do you know? Here are the most prominent signs of nursing home abuse to watch for.
First, it’s important to know that while no one expects abuse to occur when a parent or other loved one is in the care of friends or family, it still happens. Caring for the elderly isn’t easy, and some people make poor choices when the stress is squarely on their shoulders. If a loved one tells you that something has happened, take the allegation seriously. It might be easy to pass it off as nothing if the patient has dementia or alzheimer’s, but elder abuse is a serious concern. Treat it as such.
It’s also easy to pass the usual signs and symptoms off as nothing since physical ailments only become more common as one grows older. If your loved one experiences unexplained bruising, broken bones, pains and aches inconsistent with health problems, or has scars you never noticed before, then there may be something wrong. If a nursing home caregiver is uncomfortable leaving you alone in the same room with your loved one, then you should be extremely wary of the possibility that abuse has occurred.
Continuously check the expenses incurred during your loved one’s stay in a nursing home. Are there unexplained charges? A lawyer can help you suss out anything fraudulent or suspicious.
More obvious signs of nursing home abuse are sexual in nature. If your loved one has unexplained sexually transmitted infections or diseases, then be sure to alert the authorities that you’re concerned about the care being received by the patient. When your loved one is in a nursing home, routinely check that clothing is clean, and keep an inventory of everything owned by the patient. If clothing turns up torn or stained with blood, then alert the authorities.
In addition, be sure to take in your surroundings when you visit. Is there clean water? Is the heat or air conditioning appropriately maintained? Are there any obvious hazards that could result in injury? Is your loved one clean? Unfortunately, the older and more difficult to manage your loved one is, the more likely it is that abuse will occur at some point. It’s up to you to keep a vigilant eye on the wellbeing of those you care about.