We all want the very best for our loved ones, especially elderly parents, grandparents, or other relatives that have played a special role in our lives. While many seniors prefer to remain independent and live in their own homes as long as possible, there may come a point when this is no longer feasible. In such cases, it is often most convenient and cost-effective to find a nearby nursing home or assisted living facility in which to place elderly loved ones. However, it’s important that you visit frequently and keep an eye out for signs of abuse and neglect. Here are just a few signs that abuse and neglect may be taking place.
1. Unsafe conditions
A facility set up for senior living and nursing home care should include certain safety precautions, such as:
- Adequate lighting
- Measures to prevent slip and fall accidents
- Furniture and equipment designed for senior safety
If you notice poor lighting, slippery surfaces, and unsafe furniture and equipment, it should serve as your first warning sign that quality care is lacking.
2. Weight loss or change in appearance
If abuse and neglect are taking place, you may begin to notice signs of rapid deterioration or significant change in appearance, including:
- Weight loss
- Poor hygiene (unwashed body or hair, poor dental care)
- Overgrown nails
- Soiled clothing/bedding
3. Excessive medication/sedation
During visits, you may notice that your elderly loved one is heavily medicated or sedated. There could be a valid explanation, but if this treatment seems unnecessary, it could be an indicator that abuse or neglect is underway, especially if you observe other residents in the same condition.
It’s not unusual for seniors to suffer illness and injuries, which is why elder abuse frequently flies under the radar. Bumps, bruises, and other injuries can be written off as accidents. However, if you notice persistent issues like bedsores or frequent bruising or other injuries, you should start to question the level of care in the facility, and whether or not abuse and neglect are occurring.
5. Escape attempts
When seniors are forced to leave their homes and move to an assisted living facility, it’s natural that they might become withdrawn, anxious, or depressed. While you should monitor these issues, they don’t necessarily mean abuse or neglect is happening. However, when residents of nursing homes go so far as to attempt escape, you should start to question if something else is going on.
If you uncover abuse or neglect, it’s time to remove your elderly loved one from the situation, contact authorities to report conditions, and seek out a qualified law firm to explore your legal options. Even if you simply have questions about the care your loved one is receiving, please contact us or give us a call at 800.676.5295. We offer a free consultation to our new clients to answer their questions and help them determine what options they have.