When you place your parent in a nursing home, you entrust them to the care of the staff in that home. It is not a decision you will make lightly, but often, due to the complexity of caring for aging parents, it is your only choice. Unfortunately, some nursing homes fail to repay the trust you place in them.
Most nursing home workers do fantastic jobs, but abuse still happens far more than it should. Understanding the signs of abuse can help you reduce the chance it happens to your parent. Here are some things to watch out for:
Bedsores could indicate a lack of care. They can occur when a person spends too long in one position. Sunken eyes could be a sign of dehydration due to staff not ensuring adequate fluid intake. A lack of hygiene or continually wearing the same clothes could also point to negligence.
Anyone carrying out intentional physical abuse knows better than to leave visible marks on victims in places that others can easily see. So you may need to do a bit of investigation. Helping your parent get changed could allow you to see cuts or bruises hidden under clothes.
Has your outgoing parent suddenly turned inward? Has the sparkle left their eyes? It could be due to aging and a deterioration in their mental capacities. Yet, it could also be a warning sign that all is not well. They might not want to tell you what is happening due to shame at being unable to defend themselves from the abuse. So it may take a combined effort by several family members to get to the bottom of things.
Try to keep an eye on your parent’s bank accounts and other funds. Thanks to online statements, this should be simple, but you will need their permission or legal authority to get access.
If you think you have spotted signs of nursing home abuse, you need to understand what to do next. There are legal options available to address this distressing situation.