The nursing homes are supposed to be places where the elders are taken care of and where they can live their lives in peace. Unfortunately, millions of them around the world are becoming victims of abuse by someone they know. There are a lot of different common types of abuse, and there are signs that you can pay attention to, to make sure that your loved one is not being mistreated.
Here we are going to give you some facts you need to know about the most common issues. If you suspect that your family member or another resident is being hurt or exploited, you should contact an attorney right away and transfer them to another home as soon as possible.
Physical abuse is the easiest one to notice
There are a lot of different signs that can indicate physical abuse. The first thing you need to make sure of is that those things are not indicating accidents and that they are done on purpose.
If you notice that your loved one or some other resident has any type of bruises, cuts, or scrapes, that can be the first sign of mistreating. In some extreme cases, broken bones can be noticed, or even fractured. This does not indicate that the resident was beaten or molested, it may just show that they were not handled carefully.
Sometimes there won’t be any indications, but if you notice that the glasses of the resident are always broken, or any other items in their possession, that can be a sign of physical abuse as well. Talk to your loved one and be as calm as possible, without triggering them or making it look like you are blaming them. Every type of abuse goes hand in hand with emotional responses, so be really careful when you approach them.
Emotional abuse is not easy to detect
The difference between any other type of mistreating and the emotional one is that there are no exact signs when it comes to mental or emotional abuse. If you notice that a nursing home resident is scared to be left alone if they are constantly asking you to stay with them and if it seems like they are getting anxious before you leave, that can be one of the first signs.
You should also pay attention to sudden changes in the behavior or if they start developing patterns. OCD is really common when emotional mistreating happens and the residents may even stop taking their medication. In extreme cases, they may refuse to eat and they may even stop drinking water.
Assault cases and how to deal with them
If you notice that there are bruises or scrapes around the genitals if the underwear of your loved one is stained and if you notice any blood coming out of the private parts, that can be a sign of assault.
A known fact is that victims of assault have drastic changes in behavior and they can go from one extreme to another. They may become aggressive or they may completely shut down and isolate themselves. If you suspect that a resident is a victim of this type of assault, you need to contact a professional right away and have them talk to your loved one.
In case you are not sure what is the best way forward, you can contact a professional service, like The Law Center and they will give you advice on what you need to do and how to approach the issue. Unfortunately, neglect is common in nursing homes, and there are services that can give you the needed guidance and support.
Pay attention to the money transfer and subscriptions
One of the most frequent types of abuse is the financial one. Many people try to take advantage of the residents, and when the person has any type of mental health issue, it is even easier to get money from them. People who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or Dementia are one of the easiest targets, so make sure you check your loved one’s bank account regularly.
If you notice any changes in the funds that you haven’t made, or if they start signing up for paid programs, then you may want to carefully look into why that is happening.
You may become a victim of financial abuse as well, so if people in the nursing home start asking you for additional money for medications, activities, or basic care, you need to get an attorney and think about finding another place for your loved one.
How to notice if your family member is being neglected
Neglect is the most common occurrence and even though it does not sound like the worst one, it definitely takes a huge toll on the emotional wellbeing of the resident. If you notice that your loved one is not clean, if they are losing weight quickly and if they are thirsty or dehydrated, it means that they are a victim of neglect.
Other common signs may include bedsores, constantly dirty room, sudden changes in medications and routine, and lack of compassion. Most of these things can be easily explained, so make sure you talk to the resident in a safe environment where they can open up to you about the issues they are facing.
When it comes to statistics, it is said that 2 out of 10 residents experience some form of mistreating. More than 30% of the residents living in nursing homes have been abused by a caregiver and more than 20% of them experience the same from another resident. Financial exploitation is the least common, less than 8% of the residents experiencing that. However, you should always pay attention to the money transfers and the overall costs.
It is said that more than half of the people who suffer from Dementia have been victims of mistreating and 2 out of 3 victims have been women. The older the residents are, the bigger the chances are for them to be a victim of an assault.
Talk to your family member about the issues you are noticing, and make sure there is no one else in the room. They should know that they are safe with you and that you are not going to let the mistreating continue. Trauma victims may not want to report the issue right away, as they may feel like it is their fault. Tell them that they should not be embarrassed and that things will get better. Consult with a psychologist about the best course of action and do everything in your power to stop that from happening ever again.