Nursing home neglect is more common than people realize, as is nursing home abuse. When the elderly are neglected or intentionally abused, it can drastically harm their quality of life and create an unsafe — and unhappy — living arrangement.
For a variety of reasons, the elderly may not be able to communicate what is happening to their family members. They could feel ashamed, they may be afraid to speak out or they may have cognitive issues that keep them from communicating well. What this means is that family members must know what red flags to look for. Some of them include:
- Personal hygiene takes a sharp downward turn
- The person’s attitude shifts, and they become withdrawn or depressed
- The general living conditions appear unsanitary or questionable when you visit
- The person seems skittish around staff members or is actively afraid
- Mobility sharply decreases or new issues appear
- It is evident that the person is not getting proper nutrition or hydration
- The person suffers repeated injuries that the staff cannot explain
One event doesn’t mean neglect or abuse are taking place. When you see patterns, though, you know something is wrong. One new bruise that the staff blames on a fall may just be an accident. A new bruise every month, though, tells you that something is going on.
If you think that your loved one is being neglected or abused by the staff, it’s critical that you know what options you have and what steps you can take. Remember, they may not be able to stop it on their own, so they need to know that you are on their side.