The later years of our lives are supposed to be our golden years. However, if we are to believe recent statistics from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and the White House Conference on Aging (WHCA), seniors may have far more to worry about than their health condition. Abuse is becoming more frequent all over the country, and this means that families and loved ones need to pay special attention to their elder’s care, especially when a nursing home is involved. Here’s what you should look out for to protect your parent or loved one.
Is the Nursing Home Abusing Your Loved One?
Seniors get bumps and bruises on a regular basis. Many will attribute this to the facts that as you age you can have a harder time balancing, and you bruise more easily. But this excuse may be hiding something far worse than frailty or clumsiness.
According to the WHCA, out of every 23 cases of elder abuse, only one is reported to the authorities. That’s a pretty bad number, but considering that JAMA claims that one in every ten seniors is abused either physically, psychologically, sexually or financially and WHCA’s statistics take on an even darker meaning.
That means more seniors a likely to be abused than we ever thought possible, but there are things you can do to help fight this disturbing trend:
Ways to Detect Elder Abuse
- Notice Injuries– Though some injuries can be explained away as the frailty of old age, certain injuries should always raise warning flags. Injuries to the face and head, bruising on the breasts or genitals, and scratches and bruising on forearms, elbows or near shoulders could be signs of abuse.
- Notice Neglect– Some may not realize that neglect is a form of abuse as well. If a senior has bedsores, unattended medical conditions, weight loss or suddenly poor hygiene, then they may be the victim of neglect.
- Notice Caregivers– Though many will attribute abuse at the hands of caregivers to stress, that isn’t often the case. Power, control and greed are often at the heart of abuse by caregivers. If you see a caregiver constantly arguing with a resident, verbally bullying a resident or otherwise trying to control that person. Be wary, they could be abusing that individual.
- Notice Behavior– Since seniors very rarely have the ability to defend themselves in a nursing home abuse situation, their behavior can often provide a clue to their dire straits. If the senior suddenly becomes depressed, stops interacting with friends or their financial situation changes you need to be on guard. Seniors can also flag when they are being abused when they say things like their caregiver doesn’t let them go out much or that their caregiver has a temper.