When you place an elderly loved one in a nursing home in San Francisco or elsewhere, you expect that person to be taken care of by competent professionals who always have each person’s best interests at heart. Even if the staff is attentive in every way, however, there can be a type of elder abuse that occurs which is serious – abuse from a fellow resident. Sometimes that kind of abuse can be considered criminal.
What constitutes resident-on-resident nursing home abuse and what are some telltale signs?
According to a study done by Weill Cornell Medical College in conjunction with Cornell University, resident to resident nursing home abuse can include yelling, use of profanity, acts of physical aggression like kicking or biting, being in another person’s room uninvited and “snooping,” sexually inappropriate behavior, and financial wrongdoing.
Sometimes an elderly person who is the target of such unwarranted actions from a fellow resident may be reluctant to speak up, thinking there could be some form of retaliation. Maybe the person doesn’t have the alertness to make a complaint. You, as a family member or trusted friend, may be able to spot the signs of abuse if you know what to look for:
- Heightened anxiousness
- Changes in eating or sleeping habits
- Bruises that have no apparent explanation
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Emotionally withdrawn behavior
Not all seniors in nursing homes have the ability to communicate or the cognition to realize that they are being abused. For that reason, try to look out responsibly for your loved one’s well-being by visiting, calling and asking questions about the person’s situation.
If you suspect abuse from another resident, inform the state’s adult protective services department. An attorney knowledgeable about elder abuse can also be a source of information.