Recognizing the Danger: 5 Signs of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
For the two million Americans that live in long-term care facilities, abuse and neglect are a very real danger. Despite stringent federal regulations protecting one of our most vulnerable demographics, every year thousands of senior American’s fall victim to this abhorrent and despicable crime.
However, abuse and neglect are not without its signs. Loved ones should be vigilant to any signs of elder abuse. Should they suspect something is amiss, they should not hesitate to contact a personal injury lawyer that can provide advice on how to proceed to protect the legal rights of you and your loved one.
These are the five signs of nursing home neglect and abuse that everyone with a loved one in long-term care should be aware of.
Bruising or Unexplained Marks
As the body ages, bruising and scarring becomes more common. The body is not able to heal as quickly as it once did, and even innocent bumps can leave lasting marks.
However, should unexplained bruising persist, it could be an indication that your loved one is suffering from abuse. Scratches, broken bones, bedsores, or dislocated joints could all be a sign that a care worker is being heavy-handed with your elderly loved one.
If your loved one is wearing unwashed clothes or has a fragrance to suggest they are not being washed regularly, it could be a sign of neglect. Some care homes are over-filled and understaffed, leaving the residents neglected as staff rush around to complete all the necessary daily tasks. This form of abuse may not be intentional however, it still amounts to abuse as your loved one is not receiving the care they require.
Sudden Changes in Behavior
If your loved one is suffering abuse at the hands of their carers it will likely trigger a change in mood. Feelings of depression, anxiety, fear, embarrassment, and social withdrawal are all possible indicators of emotional and physical abuse. As is anger and hostility which is out of character with your loved one’s personality.
If your elderly friend or relative is showing signs of a significant behaviour shift, it is always worth investigating the underlying cause to rule out abuse.
Sudden unexpected weight loss could be indicative of an underlying illness, however, in otherwise healthy seniors, it may also indicate neglect or abuse. If they are not receiving enough food, it may be because the staff are neglecting their needs.
Unusual Financial Activity
Not all abuse is physical or psychological. Given the vulnerability of elderly citizens, they often become the target of financial predators looking to exploit them for financial gain. If you notice a sudden change in your loved one’s financial situation or find strange and unexplained activity on their accounts, it could be because someone is financially abusing or exploiting them.
If any of these signs are present in your elderly loved one, begin investigating the source of the problem immediately. Often, there is nothing nefarious behind the signs, and many are simply a result of innocent accidents, however, occasionally it is an indicator of serious abuse that requires action.