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Personal Injury Law Blog

Recognizing the signs of nursing home abuse

Most older people who live in care facilities, such as nursing homes, receive the best care possible. Sadly, this is not the case for every person, as many of them become victims of elder abuse. Elder abuse can take many forms, such as physical, mental or sexual, and even includes neglect or desertion.

When abuse happens in a South Carolina nursing home, it can devastate a family, who often rely on professionals to care for their loved ones when they cannot do so themselves. If you have someone you love living in a nursing home, there are ways for you to recognize and stop abuse. Since abused elders are 300% more likely to die than those who have not suffered nursing home abuse, it could end up saving a life.

What nursing home abuse looks like

As stated earlier, elder abuse takes many forms, such as physical, emotional, mental, financial or sexual. Many people know what those categories look like, but isolating an older person for non-medical reasons, or not providing proper care through deprivation or neglect are also considered abusive. Older people may be vulnerable as their cognitive and physical abilities decline and they are less able to provide their own care or voice mistreatment they may experience.

Some specific signals that may point to nursing home abuse include unexplained injuries such as bruises or broken bones, a sudden change in the person’s mental status, bedsores or even a dramatic change in the person’s finances. If you see anything out of the ordinary in your loved one’s demeanor or health, it is best to take action. Some studies suggest that around 5 million elders each year suffer abuse. Abuse can come from anyone who has access to the older person or his or her assets and property.

Stopping nursing home abuse

If you think your loved one is a victim of elder abuse, Adult Protective Services may be able to help, as long as there is no immediate threat that requires emergency personnel. To stop it before it happens, you can encourage your loved ones to take charge of their care as much as they are able, including establishing a power of attorney for medical or financial matters. Keeping that person connected to you, other loved ones and their community is vital for the older person’s overall well-being.

No one should ever have to suffer nursing home abuse, though it happens all too often. You have every right to stand up for your loved ones and demand that others treat them with dignity. People living out their golden years deserve care and kindness from everyone around them.