10 Signs That May Indicate Elder Abuse in a Nursing Home

Most people have to rely on others to help them take care of themselves as they get older. As a result, there’s a higher possibility that they’ll be mistreated or exploited. When a person over the age of 60 is harmed or neglected, it is known as elder abuse. It can happen to anyone at any time. It could be a caretaker, a family member, or even a neighbor.

Elder abuse usually takes place in senior care or a nursing home facility. Unfortunately, many incidents of abuse and neglect take place in subtle ways that go unnoticed for lengthy periods. The tragic reality is that nursing home abuse and neglect are not often visible, even to the victims. This is especially true when the victim is disabled, mentally impaired, or suffering from mental disorders such as anxiety, sadness, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In many cases, unless someone is intentionally looking for signs of abuse, the activities may go unnoticed. Older adults who have been abused may be afraid or embarrassed to speak up. However, if you keep your eyes wide open and understand exactly what to look for, you can help ensure the safety of your friends and loved ones. It is why advocacy and education are crucial in combating and preventing nursing home elder abuse.

Warning Signs to Keep an Eye Out For

Abuse in nursing homes can take many forms. Irrespective of the method, there are some signs and behaviors to consider. If you believe that a loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse, you can pursue legal action with the help of a nursing home abuse law firm to seek justice and financial compensation. These firms are familiar with the causes and symptoms of abuse and work hard to construct compelling cases for their clients. Working with a professional agency can also help you hold nursing homes and their employees accountable for the harm they have caused.

Let’s now look at some of the most common signs of elder abuse in nursing homes.

Signs of Physical Abuse

The most evident form of abuse is physical violence against nursing home residents, which is why a majority of people associate nursing home abuse with physical violence. This is because when abuse or neglect has occurred physically on the body, the repercussions may be seen and felt. The following are some of the indications of physical abuse:

  1. Bruises, swelling, and scrapes as a result of being grabbed or beaten with an object – pay great attention to the wrists, ankles, and upper arms in particular. These are places where the resident can be easily grabbed at.
  1. Fractured bones as a result of being pushed, confined, or physically abused – accidental fractures of the hips, wrists, and elbows are common in older people. However, experienced healthcare workers can distinguish between fractures caused by accidents and fractures caused by abuse.
  1. When elderly individuals are physically abused, especially those on the verge of dementia, they may withdraw from society out of fear. If you see abrupt changes in their conduct, such as seclusion from public interactions, they may be afraid of physical violence.

Signs of Emotional Abuse

Unlike physical abuse that’s apparent and intense, emotional abuse is more subtle and chronic. It happens gradually over time and can deplete the patient’s emotional, psychological, and physical well-being. Even the residents may be unaware of what’s going on. While it may be difficult to detect emotional abuse at first, some clear signals and behaviors suggest emotional abuse is occurring. Many of these indicators and behaviors are common among people as they get older. If you find several of these possible signs in a repeated pattern, it could be a sign of emotional abuse or neglect.

  1. Certain residents may fear being left alone because they are afraid of a certain caretaker. It could mean they don’t trust them.
  2. Withdrawing from social activities is a common change in behavior that occurs due to emotional abuse. Because of their nervousness and lack of self-confidence, those who have been emotionally abused prefer to avoid social gatherings.
  1. If a resident begins to resist medication, it could signify an emotional or psychological reaction to the abusive treatment.

Signs Of Financial Abuse

Financial abuse is generally difficult to identify and expose. Financial exploitation usually entails persuading the elderly person into giving their consent and using their money for personal gains. There are several warning signals to watch for if you feel you or a loved one has been financially exploited at a nursing home. The following are some of the most common indicators of financial abuse:

  1. Any withdrawal from a savings or retirement account should have a valid reason. Unexpected withdrawals should be seen as a warning sign of financial exploitation.
  1. If you realize that your family member is supposed to be prescribed brand name medicines and has been charged for it, but instead is receiving generic medication, you may be dealing with fraud.
  1. If your loved one loses their bank card or unexpected transactions appear on their financial statement for products they wouldn’t or couldn’t buy, you should suspect financial abuse.
  1. Any unexpected alterations to a loved one’s financial paperwork, such as a will, power of attorney, or other documents, should be considered a possible symptom of financial abuse.

The Bottomline

Since there is a risk of unnoticed elder abuse and neglect in nursing homes, friends and family, nursing home employees, and even community members must be aware of the different signs of elder abuse. It is vital that everybody working in the eldercare industry, regardless of their role, is well-informed and educated about the various types of elder abuse.

If you observe any emotionally or psychically controlling behavior against your loved ones, it could indicate the potential for elder abuse. It’s critical to take detailed notes on as many indications and patterns as possible and notify the nursing home administrator as soon as possible.

Keep in mind that nursing home patients have legal rights that must be protected. Filing a formal complaint will help you stop and prevent nursing home abuse now and in the future.

Christopher Stern

Christopher Stern is a Washington-based reporter. Chris spent many years covering tech policy as a business reporter for renowned publications. He has extensive experience covering Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commissions. He is a graduate of Middlebury College. Email:[email protected]

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