When someone close to you moves to a nursing home, it’s possible that you are relieved of taking them to doctor’s appointments, picking up groceries for them or helping with other household chores. You still call and visit them whenever possible. But this arrangement works for everyone as it ensures there is care for your elderly friend or family member — even when you can’t be there to help.
Unfortunately, there are many elder abuse and neglect cases that happen in nursing home facilities across the world. In fact, 2 in 3 staff members at nursing homes and long-term care facilities admitted to committing abuse in 2017. And if this finding isn’t concerning enough, World Health Organization reports that it’s likely that many cases go unreported. Sadly, many elderly individuals don’t feel comfortable telling staff, police or their family about their situation. To make sure the elderly people in your life aren’t experiencing harm or living in unsafe conditions, it’s crucial that you check in with them and know the warning signs of abuse.
Here are four signals to look out for:
- Physical injuries: Take any bumps, bruises or cuts you notice These could be signs that someone is physically hurting your loved one. Neglect can also result in physical ailments. This may include bedsores from lack of movement, dehydration or weight loss from denying an individual’s request for food and drink and medication withdrawal symptoms.
- Poor hygiene: When a loved one seems to have messy hair, dirty clothes, smelly body odor or breath, then it’s possible that they might be experiencing neglect.
- Unclean space: If you can visit your loved one in their individual room or apartment, examine the cleanliness of the space. Are their possessions organized or scattered? Are surfaces dusty and dirty or wiped off?
- Change in mood: A sudden or even gradual disinterest in activities your loved one once enjoyed is likely a sign of abuse or neglect too. Both physical and verbal abuse can cause fear, anxiety and/or depression.
It’s possible that the bruise you notice on your friend or family member’s arm is from an innocent accident or that their shirt is dirty because they spilled their breakfast. But it doesn’t hurt to take a closer look. Too many vulnerable individuals face abuse and there are legal professionals that can help them receive justice.