As our loved ones get older, it may eventually become too unsafe to allow them to live alone. So we are many times faced with a choice: care for them ourselves or seek outside assistance. The most common form of outside assistance is that of nursing homes or assisted living facilities, as this is more affordable than in-home individual care.
Nursing homes can be a place of enjoyment for the elderly, providing a community where they can make friends and feel involved while receiving the necessary attention. These facilities can provide full servicing, such as medical attention, or they can simply be there as a safeguard in case a residents finds themselves in need of assistance. Regardless, there are certain standards that assisted living and nursing home facilities are required to maintain for their residents. These standards are in place to maintain the safety and security of those paying for residence.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for residents to suffer from abuse and neglect. Any time a facility creates an environment where a resident is harmed or provided with sub-standard care, it can be considered abuse. But how do you know what to look for, especially because elders may not voice complaints for various reasons? Some signs to look out for when it comes to mistreatment in a nursing home could include:
- Unexplained bruises or wounds
- Broken bones
- Malnutrition or dehydration, leading to a sudden loss of weight
- Frequent infections
- Panic attacks
- Sudden change in personality/behavior
- Withdraw from normal outings or events
- Poor hygiene
- Unsanitary clothing or bed linens
- Seemingly unnecessary sedation or heavy medication
- Poor conditions at the residence, such as unsafe furniture or equipment, poor lighting, and slippery floors
- Stolen goods from room
- Lack of supervision
- Attempts by the resident to wander or run away from the residence
In order to get the best idea of the treatment of an elderly resident, visit at different times of the day and on different days of the week. Visiting at the same time every week limits you to only seeing certain staff and also allows them to predict your visits.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR LOVED ONE IS BEING ABUSED
If you confirm that your loved one is being abused, the first step is to remove them from the nursing home immediately. Your elderly loved one should then be placed with a trusted caregiver or family member. It is important to realize that recovery from abuse is a process, and it often takes time in order to have your family member back to their old self. Unfortunately, in some more severe cases, your loved one may require additional medication in order recover.
Once you have pulled your loved one out of their abusive environment, make sure you contact the authorities immediately and seek sound legal counsel in order to protect their rights and pursue justice. The attorneys at Jones & Swanson are skilled and knowledgeable in area of elder abuse and can carefully investigate your claim. If you live in the Marietta area and are concerned for your elderly loved one, reach out today.