Articles Posted in Nursing Home Neglect

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Entrusting an elderly loved one to a nursing home or care facility can be a difficult decision. As a caregiver or relative, you want what’s best for your loved one, but you may have heard horror stories about nursing home abuse.

Neglect, maltreatment, emotional abuse and even physical abuse can happen in any care facility. However, by following these steps, you can help reduce the risk that your loved one will become a victim.

  1. Evaluate the risk. Elders who are physically or mentally vulnerable have a greater risk of becoming victims of abuse. Does your loved one suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s? Is he or she bedridden? Does your loved one struggle with aggressive or challenging behaviors due to an underlying illness? If so, you may need to be even more vigilant about the risk of abuse.
  2. Choose a nursing home carefully. Invest the time to make sure it’s a good fit. Dig deeper and ask questions to get a full picture of the nursing home. Is the facility adequately staffed? Does it carefully vet caregivers and other employees? Does it have a history of complaints or safety violations? Does it have an abuse prevention policy in place? The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to help your loved one make the right decision.
  3. Understand the warning signs. Sadly, abuse and neglect often go undetected, especially when the victims are unable to voice their concerns. You may be in the best position to monitor your loved one and identify any red flags – before the neglect escalates.
  4. Keep in touch. Several studies have shown that nursing home residents with regular visitors were at less risk of abuse. Ongoing contact with your loved one – both in person and over the phone – will allow you to more readily identify any warning signs of abuse or neglect. Maintaining social interactions is also beneficial for your loved one.

If you ever suspect that your loved one is suffering from abuse or neglect, take action. A qualified attorney can help you protect your loved one from further harm.

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As our parents and other senior relatives begin to require more daily care, more and more of their wellbeing is placed in the hands of those caring for them. They may be receiving care from a relative, other loved one or an in-home care professional or they may be in a long-term care facility. No matter where they are, you are concerned that they are receiving the quality of care they deserve and that they are not being injured or deprived by nursing home neglect or abuse. 

If you begin to suspect that your older loved one is not being cared for properly, you may wonder what some of the common signs of abuse or neglect are that you should remain aware of. According to the Administration on Aging, an agency of the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, there are multiple types of abuse or neglect that seniors may be the victims of, including:

 

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Neglect
  • Financial exploitation
  • Emotional abuse

Some of the signs of abuse to watch for include:

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A major obstacle to preventing and stopping elder abuse is that many elderly loved ones do not or cannot report the problem. An elderly person may be afraid of an abuser’s retaliation, and many victims are cognitively or physically incapable of reporting the abuse. In many other cases, the abuser is actually a family member, and the vulnerable adult doesn’t want the abuser to get into trouble.

With all of these issues combined, a disturbing result is that elder abuse and neglect are widely underreported. In fact, according to a 2011 study out of New York, for every known case of elder abuse, an estimated 24 cases were unknown.

Elder abuse and neglect are forms of mistreatment generally defined by intentional actions on the part of a caregiver or some other person in a position of trust. The purpose of those actions may not be to cause personal injury to a vulnerable elder, but a negligent or reckless action that results in harm or risk to an elderly person can be defined as elder abuse. For example, nursing home negligence often results in harm to elderly people.

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Robert Butler was the author of “Why Survive? Being Old in America,” published in 1975. Butler is credited with coining the term “ageism” to describe the act of discriminating against older people. When we think of ageism, it is difficult to separate an ageist mindset from the egregious offense of nursing home abuse.

Members of one of our most vulnerable populations — older adults — are too often neglected and abused in our country’s nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. While there isn’t yet a solid body of research linking ageism to elder abuse, we as members of society can certainly do our part to raise awareness about the ways in which ageism can lead to the marginalization and mistreatment of vulnerable adults.

For example, ageism rigidly defines older people as senile, slow, old-fashioned and foundationally different from younger people, but the reality is that getting older doesn’t stop your life from being complex and ever changing.

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