Recent studies have found that up to 10 percent of elderly individuals suffer abuse. Sadly, this can happen at the nursing home you trust with your aging parents. The causes of this abuse are many — ranging from nursing home neglect due to understaffing to the hiring of unqualified employees — and there are telltale signs abuse is occurring. Here are ten of the most common.
1. Won’t Speak in Front of Staff
If your elderly loved one gets quiet whenever nursing home employees are around, it could be because they’re intimidated due to prior abuse.
2. Bed Sores
Bed sores are a common sign that nursing home neglect is occurring. Hospital professionals can face medical malpractice lawsuits if this type of neglect occurs, but always remember that nursing home staffers also owe a duty of care.
3. Weight Loss
Elderly individuals need additional care to ensure they’re getting appropriate nutrients and enough food to stay healthy. A sharp drop in weight could be indicative of nursing home neglect.
4. Injuries Requiring Hospitalization or Treatment
Bed sores and weight loss could be due to simple neglect, but serious injuries might result from nursing home abuse. If a loved one is injured, always look for other signs of abuse and neglect.
If an elderly loved one develops a serious infection or repeat minor infections, it could be a sign of unsanitary and unsafe conditions.
6. Becomes Withdrawn or Agitated
Age-related diseases can alter personality, but swift or unexpected changes could be related to physical or emotional abuse. Abused elderly individuals feel helpless, and this can result in significant personality changes.
7. Signs of Healing Injuries Injuries
can be serious even if they don’t result in hospital care. If you see bruises, cuts or other wounds that are new or healing, you should wonder if nursing home abuse is occurring.
8. Marks on Wrists
Take note if your loved one has bruises or reddening on their wrists. Neglectful nursing home staff will sometimes tie patients down, and these marks are indicative of that abuse.
9. Suspicious Financial Activities
Not all abuse is emotional or physical. Financial abuse could be taking place if you notice duplicate billings for your loved one’s medical devices or services.
10. Heavy Medication
Elderly individuals take plenty of medications. However, if a loved one seems dazed or overly tired constantly, it could be due to over medication. This nursing home abuse is meant to keep patients easily controllable.
Individuals suffering from nursing home abuse cannot deal with it on their own. If you suspect abuse is taking place, contact local authorities immediately.
Sources: https://www.mentalhelp.net/articles/cognitive-theories-of-major-depression-seligman/, http://www.aoa.acl.gov/AoA_Programs/Elder_Rights/EA_Prevention/WhatToDo.aspx, http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/library/data/#problem