Once your parent enters a nursing home, it can be challenging to keep on top of things. Work, children and other commitments can all make visiting as often as you intended difficult. If you live far away, this will make it even harder.
Being away from friends and family can affect people. So, you may notice emotional changes in your parent as a result. Yet, some changes may have more sinister causes.
Emotional abuse is not as easy to spot as physical or financial abuse
Think back to your school days. You and others may have suffered all sorts of emotional abuse at the hands of pupils or teachers, yet it often continued for years because no adult noticed it, no adult believed you, or you did not want to report it. The same can happen at the other end of the life scale to your parent in the care home:
- Your parent does not say anything: Older adults can find it hard to accept they are less capable than before. If someone had spoken to your dad badly in his prime, he would have sacked them or decked them. Now he is weaker, and he knows his abuser is the one holding power. He may feel too ashamed to report it or fear retaliation if he does.
- No one believes them: In the same way, school bullies can claim a kid is being silly and making things up. Nursing home staff may claim your parent is senile and imagining things. If your parent has mental health issues and is prone to a bit of fantasy, even you may struggle to tell whether they are telling the truth.
If you notice emotional changes in your parent, make time to check it out. The changes may indeed be due to the change in circumstances or them getting older. Yet it is better to be safe than sorry. If you suspect something is amiss, seek legal help to understand your options.