When you have an elderly parent or relative who needs specialized care, it is not uncommon to opt for a nursing home or assisted living facility. After all, nursing homes ought to be the safest place for seniors. However, the number of cases of elderly abuse in these homes are rising at an alarming rate. If you know someone in a nursing home, it is important to keep an eye out for signs of abuse.
Types of abuse
Seniors in nursing homes can be abused in different ways. Some common types of abuse that elders may suffer in nursing homes include:
- Physical abuse
This may take the form of kicking, beating, slapping, pushing, restraining or chaining an elder or even the administration of medication to an elder that restricts his or her physical ability of self-defense.
- Emotional abuse
This includes exposing a nursing home resident to fear, mental pain, distress or anguish by name calling, shouting, belittling, disrespecting, threatening or swearing at them. This abuse can also take the form of isolating the person from her friends or family, refusing to acknowledge her or not allowing her to take part in recreational activities.
- Sexual abuse
This involves any sexual contact with the nursing home resident without consent. It may take the form of rape, coerced nudity, sodomy, photographing them or touching them.
This involves desertion of the elder by those who are meant to be responsible for her care and custody.
- Financial exploitation
This involves the fraudulent appropriation of an elder’s assets.
This involves failing to provide the care and protection to the elder which is reasonably expected of the caregiver. It could include failure to provide food, clothes, water or medicine.
Signs of Abuse
There are different signs of abuse. The signs of abuse largely depend on the type of abuse the elder is suffering. However, some common signs include:
- Broken bones
- Over sedation or over medication
- Loss of personal property or assets
- Excessive fear
What to do
If you suspect abuse of an elderly person in a nursing home, you should:
- Verify the resident’s story to ensure that she is telling the truth. Take photos of injuries and gather their medical records.
- Remove the elderly person to another facility to ensure that she is no longer exposed to the abuse.
- Inform the authorities of your suspicions. Provide them with the information you’ve gathered. File charges against the facility so that authorities can start investigating.
- Hire an attorney to guide you through filing a lawsuit against the nursing home or assisted living facility.