How To Spot Elder Abuse In Your Family
It can be difficult when one of your loved ones is living in a nursing home, especially when you suspect that they aren't getting adequate care, or if you think that they might be getting abused. Not only can this be stressful to deal with on an emotional level, but it may also be stressful because it isn't always easy to know what to do in these situations, especially if you aren't certain that abuse is taking place. That doesn't mean though, that you can't learn the signs or get help if you need it.
One key thing to look out for if you think that your loved one might be getting mistreated is mood changes. Unexplained mood swings and outbursts could be a sign that they are dealing with some kind of emotional trauma, especially if these outbursts seem to be triggered by specific people or situations. Looking out for mood changes can be particularly important with those that may not be able to communicate verbally. However, it should be kept in mind that there are many conditions that can cause mood changes, and that mood shifts can also be part of the aging process, so it's advisable to look out for other signs besides mood shifts alone, especially if you are looking for nursing home attorneys for help.
Malnutrition and Weight Changes
Something else you should be looking out for are malnutrition and weight changes. If your loved one is rapidly gaining or losing weight, this could be a clue that they aren't being taken care of properly. It could be possible that they are being neglected and not receiving a proper diet. However, weight fluctuations could also be a sign that they are experiencing emotional problems as well. Overeating and under eating can both be ways of coping with stress.
Infections can happen in elderly often, for a variety of reasons and could be a normal health concern. That being said, an infection, especially a recurring one, could be a sign of elder neglect. This can be particularly true for those that are bed ridden, or that are otherwise not able to physically care for themselves. Depending on the kind of infections they get, as well as the frequency of them, it could be a clue that they are not being attended to properly.
Injuries are another common sign that elder abuse is taking place. While skin may bruise more easily as you age, and some medications or injections could increase the likelihood of bruising, it can still be one of the most common signs that someone is being abused. When trying to decide if you think it may be abuse, check to see where the bruising is occurring. Bruises on the thighs or insides of arms tend to be uncommon. Also, take note of the severity of the bruises and how often they occur.
Avoidance of Certain Caretakers
If your loved one seems to avoid certain caretakers, or their demeanor immediately changes once the caretaker comes into the room, it could be a sign that they are uncomfortable with them, which could mean that abuse is taking place. Of course, this may not always be the case and there could be other reasons why your loved one does not like a particular caretaker, but if your loved one seems to consistently become uncomfortable when a particular caretaker is present there is a possibility that they are harming or neglecting them.
The Bottom Line
Having a loved one in a nursing home isn't always easy to deal with, even under the best possible circumstances. However, it can be a much more difficult situation if you suspect that your loved one may be the victim of elder abuse or neglect. While there isn't usually one sign that will indicate for sure what is going on, there are many signs that you can look out for that will help you discern how your loved one is being treated, and if you should consider getting help to address it