You have decided that a nursing home is the best thing for your loved one, you have chosen the perfect facility for you and your needs, and you have gone through the transition process. What more is there to worry about? While nursing homes can be an exceptional place for your loved one to live the rest of their life, there are unfortunate circumstances that sometimes happen in these types of facilities. Because of the vulnerable nature of the average resident, there is a higher possibility of your loved one being abused, neglected, or taken advantage of in some way.
This can often be a very difficult idea to process. Our loved ones have moved to these facilities to be taken care of, so the thought of neglect or abuse can leave you distraught, confused, and frustrated. These emotions can be even more intense because you are not living in the same facility, so it is even more difficult to make sure that these actions are not occurring.
With the nature of the elderly comes one more complication when dealing with nursing home neglect and abuse. Residents of these types of facilities are often very forgetful, whether that be because of a medical condition or just old age. This can make it very difficult for them to report that something has been happening. Not only do they run the risk of forgetting the details of the event, this memory impairment can very often discredit them in general. People are less likely to believe the story of an elderly nursing home resident than they are a doctor, nurse, or caregiver. With these things in mind, it often comes down to the family of the resident to look out for very certain signs and clues that there may be some act of nursing home negligence occurring.
When speaking with or visiting your loved one, whether it is inside or outside of the facility, there are a few things that you can keep an eye out for based on your loved ones actions, words, and living conditions. However, it is important to keep in mind that these signs do not always point to abuse, so you must read the entire situation as a whole.
If your loved one has seemed depressed and/or unhappy, this could be one sign pointing to some sort of negligence or abuse. It is normal for anyone of any age to go through a depressive spell when they have moved to a new place. They are adjusting to a completely new lifestyle, so it makes sense that they may be sad or depressed. However, when this depression continues, you might begin questioning whether or not they have been abused in any way. If they are withdrawn in their mannerisms and do not want to carry conversation or talk, this may be due to some sort of event or pattern of events that are happening when you are not around.
Lack of Sleep
When you visit or speak with your loved one, pay attention to if they seem more tired than normal. Of course, tiredness and inability to have a good night’s sleep comes with old age, but as stated before, if these conditions seem to fall outside of the normal pattern of your loved one, this may be a cause for concern. Depending on the type of neglect that may be happening, your loved one may be losing sleep due to pain or worry, both of which should not be overlooked.
This same idea also applies to eating habits. If you notice that your loved one has lost their appetite for an extended period of time, this may be due to worry or depression. These types of things can be signs and symptoms of different types of abuse.
Fearfulness of Caregivers
This is one of the most obvious signs of mistreatment. When your loved one interacts and speaks about his or her caregivers, listen and watch closely. Are they fearful of the person that they are speaking to or about? Doctors, nurses, and caregivers have a natural authority over the residents of the nursing home in which they work, but this should only affect the relationships to a certain extent. If your loved one does not want to see their caregiver out of fear, or if they talk about them in a way that does not seem natural of an average relationship, this may be a sign of something bigger and more serious.
Suspicious Life Changes
Although you may have some control of your loved one’s big decisions from the outside of the facility, they may still have the ability to make major life changes, depending on the specifics of your family’s situation. These types of changes can be financial, legal, or even social. When people hear the word “abuse”, they often think of physical abuse. However, abuse and neglect can come in many different forms. Depending on the type of abuse that is happening, this may be affecting your loved one’s bank accounts, legal setup, friendships, and willingness to spend money. If you notice a change in any of these areas, or any other big life changes, it may be a good idea to begin questioning their current mental and physical safety.
Signs of nursing home abuse can appear in any way, shape, or form.
The different types of signs mentioned above are just a few very general things to look out for. There are many different things that could point to a negative living situation. By themselves, these signs do not necessarily mean that your loved one has been abused. However, if you are seeing a constant combination of any of these or other suspicious occurrences, it may be time to get serious about taking action.
If you believe that your loved one has been mistreated in some way in their nursing home or extended care facility, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Your loved one should not have to continue to live this way. The experienced nursing home negligence attorneys at Finney Law Office, LLC, want to help. Contact us today.
Continue exploring this guide:
- Nursing Home Guide Negligence
- Choosing the Right Nursing Home
- Preparing Your Loved One for This Transition
- What to Do If You Suspect Abuse or Negligence
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