Becoming a caregiver to your parents will often be the preferred route as they get older. However, with your own family to manage, your career, and their ever-changing care requirements, caring for elderly parents can become really difficult. It can be both physically and emotionally draining, not to mention, it can take a toll on your finances and other relationships.
When things become too much, the best place for seniors is either an assisted living facility or, if they have specialist care needs, a nursing home.
Finding the right nursing home is tough: You can mostly guarantee that the staff and services will have the best interests of your elderly parents in mind. However, there are those that fail to meet the basics of care that any human would expect and deserve.
If things don’t seem quite right when you visit your parents in care, you should act immediately. The longer these doubts are left to linger, the longer your parents could be suffering. Understandably, it’s not easy knowing what to do in this situation, which is why this guide should help if you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect.
Warning signs of nursing home abuse or neglect
There are some common signs of nursing home abuse. These issues often develop due to a lack of attentive staff to clean, feed, or support patients with getting around. For example, you might notice that your senior family member is more confused, drowsy, or disoriented than usual. This may be due to not having the right medication, being left to sleep too long, or even malnutrition. You might also notice unexplained bruises, scratches, broken bones, sudden weight loss and weakness, and dehydration.
If your loved ones are left alone frequently, poor supervision can lead to falls and incidents and result in depression and anxiety or a loss of interest in things due to loneliness. You could also notice the following:
- Incontinence. If seniors feel they are not able to get help quickly enough with going to the bathroom, they may become incontinent. Incontinence can also lead to shame, anxiety, and isolation if they feel it is their fault.
- Immobility. When you visit your relatives, it’s worth looking to see where they are and where they’ve been. If staff are not supportive or too busy to help seniors get around, your relatives could be suffering from ailments linked to immobility. Bedsores or frequent urinary infections can occur from being immobile for too long and putting pressure on the same areas of the body for prolonged periods of time.
- Poor personal hygiene. Everything from foul smells to overgrown nails is a sign of poor personal hygiene. When at home, poor personal hygiene can occur when it’s too difficult to get around or when depression or forgetfulness starts to develop. However, with the safety net of the nursing home, this should never happen.
What to do if you suspect nursing home abuse
If you’ve noticed any of the above or anything else that seems odd, the first port of call is to try to speak to your senior relative about it. Find out their honest opinions of the facility, the staff, and why any of the above issues might be occurring. It could be due to other illnesses they are being treated for, and staff may be fully aware of the issue. However, it is always best to get their full story before jumping to conclusions.
- Speak to management
Then, speak to the management staff at the home. Make sure to take notes and flag any names that come up in conversation. You should also aim to take photographs if there is physical evidence of neglect. Abuse and neglect can also be reported to your State’s Abuse hotline. Usually, the hotline will be available online or via the phone seven days a week. You can also report any abuse concerns to the Ombudsman program in your area.
- Speak to experts
If the abuse was caused by the nursing home, it might be worth contacting an attorney like Brown and Crouppen Fairview Heights IL, who specialize in elderly abuse and neglect. Experts will be able to help you get your relative what they justly deserve after being treated the way they have been. No one should get away with neglecting another human being this way, so go to those who will fight your case.
- Move your relative or visit more often
When you had covered all the options, you may want to move your elderly relatives into the family home for a brief period – until things are sorted. If it’s not possible, try to have different relatives visit each day to keep track of any issues and changes in their behavior.
Nobody wants to see their family suffering. This is why if you think something is wrong, it is always best to confront it and try to find solutions.