Americans are living much longer than ever before. Additionally with aging baby-boomers, more and more seniors will enter a nursing home or other elder facility in the near future. When our loved ones enter such a facility, we expect that their needs will be met and that they will be safe and secure. Unfortunately that is not always the case. Reported cases of elder abuse have risen steadily over the past decade. If you have a loved one in such a facility, it is important to be aware of signs of abuse, neglect, and exploitation like those detailed below:
1) Unexplained injuries can be a sign of serious abuse. If your loved one develops bruises, cuts, scratches, or broken bones that cannot be explained or for which the given explanation seems unlikely, those injuries may be the result of abuse.
2) Poor hygiene is a sign of potential neglect. Since many residents of nursing homes must depend on others to assist them with their activities of daily living, unclean clothing, lack of bathing, and wearing clothes that are inappropriate for the weather likely mean that your loved one is being neglected. Bed sores could mean he or she is not being regularly repositioned in the bed.
3) Lack of available necessities such as soap and toilet paper are further evidence that your loved one’s needs are being neglected.
4) Be sure to monitor your loved one’s health. Weight loss could be a sign that he or she is not receiving enough to eat. Does your loved one’s health appear to be rapidly deteriorating? That could mean he or she is not receiving his or her prescribed medications. He or she might also develop infections that go untreated.
5) Your loved one is also at risk of being financially exploited in a nursing facility. Money and valuables may mysteriously disappear. His or her supply of clothing may dwindle. Nursing homes often have accounts set up for family member to make deposits to for expenses such as haircuts, the cost of outings, and other activities. If you discover that your loved one has not been partaking in these “extras,” the funds in such an account may have been misappropriated either accidently or purposely.
6) Finally, look for emotional changes in your loved one. Victims of abuse often become withdrawn or isolated. An abuser may have threatened him or her if he or she tells anyone of the abuse or neglect.
Since your loved one is in a vulnerable situation, it is important that you and other family members keep a close watch for any of the above signs of abuse or neglect. It is crucial that you document any of these signs of abuse immediately in the event that you must take action against the abuser(s).
If you yourself have been the victim of elder abuse, or you suspect that a loved one is being victimized, please do not hesitate to immediately contact the authorities as well as the attorneys at Inkelaar Law.