Nursing Home Abuse: Common Types, Prevention, and More

Say you’re going to visit your mother in the nursing home and she doesn’t seem herself. But this isn’t just one of her out-of-the blue bad days – no, you suspect that something much sinister is going on. She seems withdrawn, nervous, and won’t eat for you. If this is the case, you may have abuse happening right under your nose and will have to do your best to figure out where to turn next. Now you can find more about the common types, symptoms, and prevention of these atrocious actions brought onto the elderly.

What are the signs of acts of abuse on the elderly?
Nursing home abuse takes many forms, such as emotional and physical tolls. Here are some common warning signs, although these are just a few of the big picture:

  • Frequent arguments or acts of tension between the elderly person and their caregiver
  • Changes in personality or behavior in the elder
  • Bruises, welts, and scarring on two sides of the body
  • Report of drug overdose or apparent failure to take medication regularly
  • Signs of being restrained, such as rope marks on wrists
  • Witnessing threatening, belittling, and controlling nature by the caregiver
  • Unexplained venereal disease or genital infections
  • Unusual weight loss and malnutrition
  • Being left dirty or unbathed
  • Unsafe living conditions such as no heat or running water
  • Significant withdrawals from elder’s bank accounts
  • Items or cash missing from elder’s household
  • Evidence of overmedication or undermedication

What are the most common types of elder abuse?

  • Physical Abuse: This is a non-accidental force used against elderly people to result in physical pain, injury, or impairment. It can include hitting, shoving, restraint use, or confinement.
  • Emotional Abuse: In this case, a caregiver will speak to or treat an elderly person in a way that causes them emotional pain or distress. It can take on verbal forms like intimidation and blaming, or nonverbal forms like ignoring the elder or isolating them from friends and family.
  • Sexual Abuse: If someone is having contact with an elder person without his or her consent, that is sexual abuse. This can include physical sexual acts, showing the elder pornographic material, forcing them to watch sex acts, or forcing them to undress in front of them.
  • Neglect or Abandonment: This is failure to fulfill a caretaking obligation, which constitutes for more than half of all reported cases of elder abuse. It can be either intentional or unintentional due to ignorance and denial.
  • Financial Exploitation: This is unauthorized use of an elderly person’s funds or property by a caregiver or outside scam artist. A caregiver might misuse an elder’s personal checks, credit cards, or accounts, or steal their cash in this case.

To prevent elder abuse, you must be open to listening to seniors and caregivers, intervening when you suspect abuse is happening, and educating others about how to recognize and report elder abuse. As a concerned friend or family member, you can watch out for the warning signs such as marks left on the elderly person or a change in the amount of medications they are taking. The signs are out there – so be aware!

Know the standard of care!
Many states in the U.S. have enacted statutes or regulations to establish certain minimum standards of care in nursing homes across the country. A nursing home must be able to show that it can comply with those minimum standards. However, even if it does, they may still be held liable for damages in a case where a caregiver has been abusing an elderly person. If you believe you have a case, you will want an attorney on your side that understands your needs and your loved one’s needs as well. Call Welebir Law today to set up a consultation and get started on making your claim!

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