Nursing home abuse isn’t always straightforward – it can appear in many different forms. It may be obvious, visible, and intentional, or, it could be subtle abuse caused by neglect or a general lack of care by the nursing home staff.
Abuse is also vast, it may be emotional, physical, financial, and even sexual. Each of these things can have a huge impact on someone in a nursing home, impacting their health – both mentally and physically – and their sense of happiness and well-being. Regardless of the type of nursing home abuse that is going on, it’s essential that you keep an open dialogue about this sensitive topic with your elderly loved one.
Communication is essential to stop the abuse and to help the healing begin.
Spotting the Signs of Abuse
The first step is to open a dialogue and identify any suspected abuse. There are more than a few signs of abuse you can watch for. The first indication is if your loved one’s behavior has changed. The emotional effects that often go along with abuse tend to manifest in things like depression, sluggishness, or a loss of enthusiasm for things that your loved one enjoyed in the past. This change may be sudden or over time. The key is to stay tuned into your loved one so you can notice a problem as soon as it occurs.
It’s also possible the signs of abuse will be more obvious. This includes things like scars, cuts, sores, bruises, or any other types of injuries. These could be from an accident, but if there is anything suspicious, make sure to address the issue right away.
If you suspect abuse or neglect, you should notify the authorities and contact an attorney to discuss your legal rights and options.
Talking to Your Loved One
If you believe your loved one is suffering from abuse, it’s up to you to start the conversation. The victim may not want to discuss what is going on, as it could be a source of embarrassment. While this is true, the truth should come out.
The first step is to be straightforward and ask your loved one if they need help. Be sure to ask them what is wrong or if there is something happening at the nursing home, they need help with. It’s important to communicate – it is very possible that your loved one wants help but is scared to say anything.
Listen – Don’t Judge
Being able to talk to your senior loved one is crucial, but you can judge them or what they say. You have to support the individual and believe what they say. Make sure you seek legal help as this is going to be one of the only options you have to ensure that the at-fault person or people are held responsible.
Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is more common than many people believe. It’s essential that you take action if you suspect this is going on.