As your elderly relatives get older, you may start to worry about how they are going to take care of themselves. It can be difficult to watch someone who was once strong and independent become frail and vulnerable.
Nonetheless, you do have options in this scenario. Nursing homes and long-term care facilities are there to provide extra support for elderly residents. In fact, they are legally obliged to provide a certain standard of care.
Most facilities take this seriously. Sadly, in a minority of cases, abuse can occur. Elder abuse can be physical, financial or emotional and it isn’t always easy to report. Here’s why:
A fear of retaliation can prevent seniors from speaking up
Often, the abusers are those tasked with taking care of residents. They are close to the resident every day, even having unrestricted access to their rooms. An elderly individual may worry about the consequences should they alert the authorities of the abuse. They may worry that they won’t be believed and that the abuse will only continue or even get worse because they have spoken out about it.
How can you help?
It’s important to keep an eye out for some of the most common signs of elder abuse. These include changes in your loved one’s mood, visible bruises, weight loss and poor hygiene.
If abuse is occurring, it may be going on without the knowledge of the nursing facility’s supervisors, so you should alert them. If you suspect that they might be involved, alert the authorities. Reporting the abuse may cause some short-term upheaval for your family member, but it will make them much safer in the long run.
Nursing home residents are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect. If you think that a nursing care facility has failed in its duty of care, be sure to look into your legal options.