Many of us have a loved one or know someone who has a loved one in a nursing home – and the number is trending upwards. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2030, roughly one of every five residents in the United States will be 65 years old or older and close to half of them will spend some amount of time in a nursing home.
Nursing homes are thought to provide quality healthcare and support; however, that is not always the case. It is important that you remain vigilant as nursing home residents are vulnerable. Some may not be able to care for themselves, and all are at the mercy of their caregiver for some, if not all, of their needs. Many cannot communicate effectively or are limited in their ability to move – this makes them particularly vulnerable to abuse.
Here is our list of 5 red flags that may indicate your loved one could be suffering from abuse.
1. Refusing alone time. If the caregiver in the nursing home refuses to allow you to be alone with your loved one, that’s a major red flag. They may be wary that, if alone, your loved one will report nursing home abuse. Someone may be less likely to report in the presence of the abuser because they could fear retaliation for reporting.
2. Belittling your loved one. Many people don’t realize that emotional abuse is also a serious form of abuse. If you witness a caregiver speaking in a belittling, threatening, or controlling manner when you visit a nursing home, your loved one could be suffering from emotional abuse – which can be just as devastating as any other type of abuse. It is possible that even if the belittling that you witness is not directed at your loved one, it may be happening to your loved when you are not around.
3. Physical injuries. This may seem obvious but, in many cases, it’s not. Elderly people are prone to suffer injuries more often than younger ones. Injuries occur for many reasons, and they are not always the fault of someone else. But if injuries are constant, treatment is delayed, or the story behind the injury doesn’t seem to match up, that’s a major red flag.
4. Bed sores. Keep an eye out for bed sores, particularly for loved ones who are unable to move on their own. This could indicate that the caregiver is not providing proper care and there could be other injuries besides bed sores.
5. Changes in legal documents. If your loved one is suddenly changing their power of attorney, life insurance, will, or property titles, they may be facing financial exploitation. You may think your loved one is safe because they are in a nursing home, but financial exploitation can happen anywhere. It’s a good idea to stay up to date on these types of changes to ensure your loved one is not suffering financial abuse.
If you’ve noticed one of these flags and suspect abuse is occurring, give us a call for a free consultation. We will walk you through the process and guide you towards saving your loved one from additional abuse and recovering from whatever abuse has occurred.