As our loved ones head into the twilight of their lives, they should feel safe, cared for, and comforted. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. In countless nursing homes throughout the country, where our elderly friends and family members expect care and safekeeping, they receive poor care, negligence, and outright abuse. Nobody wants to see their loved ones suffer, which is why it’s important to know how to identify the signs of nursing home abuse.
Common signs of nursing home abuse include:
Each of the signs listed above may indicate a variety of different types of elder abuse. However, depending on the nature of the abuse or negligence your loved one is experiencing, they may show any number of other physical and mental signs.
As terrible as it is to contemplate, elder abuse does sometimes occur in the form of sexual abuse. When sexual abuse occurs, it is likely to leave as much of an emotional mark as it does a physical one. Outward signs of sexual abuse may include bruises and abrasions on the legs, buttocks, hip, or breast areas, or marks from bindings at the wrists or ankles. In addition, the abused person might begin to withdraw from social interaction, avoid physical contact, or lash out in anger.
Signs of physical abuse are typically straightforward, but they aren’t always visible. Some abusers take care to hide bruises lacerations, burns, and other physical marks somewhere the victim’s family is unlikely to see them. In addition to the physical signs, the victim might also express fear of their abuser and may ask you not to leave them alone. If your loved one shows signs of physical pain unconnected to known injuries or illnesses, ask them about it.
Scammers often prey on the elderly, sometimes through intricate scams, but often through blatant acts of theft. If you notice that your relative’s spending activity has been abnormal, (large withdrawals, unexplained expenses, lavish gifts, etc.) ask them about it and go from there. Likewise, be sure to watch for suspicious account activity, such as changes to powers of attorney, beneficiaries, etc. Your loved one could be forfeiting their assets due to manipulation or blackmail, or the financial abuse could be happening without their knowledge.
If your loved one is being neglected, he or she may be lacking proper care from the responsible caretakers, doctors, or nurses. As a result, they may withhold food or water, fail to perform proper room cleanings or uphold patient hygiene. Likewise, the facility may fail to rotate bedridden patients, resulting in bedsores or infections. If a problem arises, a negligent facility might also fail to report the issue to medical authorities, resulting in delayed or complete lack of necessary medical treatment. In short, negligence means your loved one’s caretaker is not performing their job as they should, resulting in a severe lack of attention and care.
There are several telltale signs you can look for if you suspect abuse, but the main thing to keep in mind is that you know your loved one better than anyone else. If their behavior is odd and you think something is wrong, go with your instincts. Ask important questions and talk to your loved one and their caretaker to get as much information as you can. If you discover that your relative is the victim of any form of nursing home elder abuse, reach out to our team of attorneys immediately.