Right now, more and more of the baby boomer generation are entering their golden years. Thanks to the advances in health care, the life expectancies of these individuals is only going up, which has resulted in the need for nursing home care going up significantly. While most nursing homes and assisted living communities are safe, respectable facilities, there are some that are operated by insufficient staff or staff and caretakers who aren’t properly trained or vetted.
When this situation is present, it can lead to the neglect or abuse of the elderly residents. In fact, according to the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee, approximately 10 percent of all seniors are going to become a victim of some type of nursing home abuse.
While signs of physical abuse are obvious because it leaves behind bruises, cuts or other visual evidence, other types of mistreatment can be subtler and, therefore more difficult to identify. Getting to know some of the signs of nursing home abuse can help you keep your senior loved one safe.
The most obvious indication of physical abuse includes injuries that are unexplained. This can include scrapes and cuts, head injuries and even bone fractures. In most cases, these injuries occur because of a fall resulting from inattention, or they are intentionally inflicted by staff or other residents.
Sudden and Unexplained Behavior Changes
If an elderly resident of a nursing home is humiliated, isolated, ignored or psychologically tormented in some other way, this may cause them to exhibit uncharacteristic behavioral changes. These changes can include disrupted eating or sleeping cycles, fear, reclusiveness and more.
Malnourishment and Dehydration
Some older nursing home residents are forced to adjust to living in these facilities because they are unable to feed themselves or keep up with their special dietary needs. If these needs are ignored, it can result in serious medical issues, and in extreme cases, death.
Poor Personal Hygiene
For many elderly people residing in nursing homes, the tasks of changing clothes, brushing their teeth and bathing can be a struggle. This is especially true for the residents who suffer from dementia. Other signs of neglectful care include lack of movement, painful bed sores, unchanged diapers, dirty clothing and teeth that are not brushed.
Personal Belongings and Money that Go Missing
In addition to physically or mentally abusing nursing home residents, there are some staff members who may also coerce seniors into divulging their sensitive, private financial information. This grants the staff members the ability to withdraw money from their accounts and take advantage of their finances in other ways.
If you ever believe that your senior loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse, then you need to contact an attorney for help. They can review the situation and take steps to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. As the family of the senior, it is your responsibility to watch for signs of abuse, as the senior may not be able to voice their worries because of the fear of retribution from the abusive staff.