Nursing homes are designed to be places where elderly and vulnerable people can feel safe and supported both physically and emotionally. In the majority of cases, nursing homes successfully fulfill their purpose. In this way, they can be invaluable sources of support for aging people who are unable to take care of themselves alone.
However, instances of nursing home abuse are shockingly common. The World Health Organization found that 1 in 6 people who are over the age of 60 experience abuse within community settings each year. It also found that long-term care facilities and nursing homes globally saw high rates of elder abuse.
If you have a loved one who is residing in a nursing home, it is important that you are vigilant, and that you take any signs of possible neglect or abuse seriously. The following are some common signs of nursing home abuse that you should be aware of.
Unexplained bruises or bed sores
If your loved one has any minor bruise or injury, you should ask them about this calmly in an uninterrupted environment. If they tell you that they do not remember where they acquired it or if you believe that they are covering up the truth, you should demand an explanation from staff.
Bed sores might be common among nursing home residents, but it doesn't mean that they should be accepted. Bed sores can point to poor hygiene and neglect. They could also be a sign that your loved one has been forced to stay in bed for long periods of time.
Changes in personality and behavior
If your loved one transitions from being social and bubbly to being depressed and reserved, you should speak to them about how they are feeling. Nursing home abuse can lead to depression, and, as a result, the elderly person may lose interest in the things that they used to enjoy.
Fear and paranoia
Your loved one may become anxious as a response to abuse. They may be easily agitated, unable to sit still and paranoid about the actions of others.
It's important that you do not ignore unexplained injuries and changes in behavior when your loved one is in a nursing home. Taking early action can lead to the possibility of making a successful legal claim against the nursing home.