Neglect of the elderly in nursing homes

Many senior citizens are not receiving the care they need due to abusive or neglectful caretakers. While there are many laws against elder abuse, the sad truth is that nursing home abuse and neglect are not always easy to catch. Some elders are even abused by their family members, whether they live in a nursing home or not. Learning how to recognize and how to report elder abuse is crucial to keeping elderly family members safe.

While many people know that unexplained cuts and bruises are signs of elderly abuse (and child abuse, and animal abuse, etc.), there are many more subtle signals to watch out for. Broken eyeglasses, signs of restraint on wrists and arms, and a caregiver’s refusal to allow you to see the senior alone can all be signs of physical abuse.

Of course, neglect of the elderly in nursing homes is also common. Keep an eye out for signs of unexplained weight loss, dehydration, and unsanitary living conditions. Seniors should be well-fed, bathed, and happy. If your elderly relative is dressed inappropriately for the weather, exhibits bed sores, or is living in unsafe conditions, they may be experiencing elder neglect.

In addition to physical abuse and neglect, many seniors suffer from emotional and financial abuse as well. Again, watch for caregivers who will not allow you to be alone with your family member, and behavior from the senior such as mumbling to themselves and rocking back and forth. Keep an eye out for unpaid bills, unexplained bank withdrawals, and items missing from the house or apartment.

One of the best ways to prevent elder abuse is to call and visit as often as you can. This will allow you to notice unusual actions and behaviors, as well as show potential abusers that your senior relative has people who care about them and who know how to report elder abuse. Thoroughly screen assisted living facilities and nursing homes. If you see any signs of abuse, call your national elder abuse hotline to take action.

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