. Many seniors suffer abuse at the hands of their caregivers. This can happen whether the caretaker is a spouse, relative or even a professional caregiver. It is especially disturbing to think that seniors might be abused in nursing homes, where they are sent for professional care when family members can no longer care for them, but it can and does happen. Here are some signs to watch for that may indicate nursing home abuse.
Physical abuse may be indicated by the presence of unexplained cuts, bruises or other injuries. Seniors may experience fractures as a result of being hit or shoved, and may be denied adequate food and water. If an elderly person indicates that he or she has been mistreated by nursing home staff, the accusation should be taken seriously and action should be taken immediately. The same applies if a family member or other visitor notices anything unusual about the elderly person’s condition.
Neglect involves failure to properly care for a person in one’s care. Just because a nursing home is being paid to look after the needs of its residents does not mean that it always does. Things to watch for include bed sores, unclean clothing, poor personal hygiene and unsanitary conditions in the resident’s room or elsewhere in the facility.
Sexual abuse can include anything from improper touching to rape, and usually results in emotional as well as physical trauma for the resident. It may be difficult for the victim to tell anyone that this type of abuse has occurred. If an elderly person experiences unexplained genital infections, bleeding, bruising around the breasts or upper thighs or torn or stained underclothing, these may be reasons to suspect sexual abuse.
Seniors who are subjected to emotional abuse may develop low self-esteem depression or dementia. Their personalities may change and they may start to have mood swings or withdraw from other people. They may also exhibit strange behaviors such as biting, sucking or rocking.
Other nursing home abuse signs include seniors not being allowed to leave their rooms, visitation being denied or delayed by nursing home staff, physical restraint of the elderly person, overuse of medication or withholding required medication, unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts and personal belongings missing from the resident’s room. Any of these signs could indicate a problem, and further investigation is warranted.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as legal advice.