Elder abuse has become a serious problem in the United States. According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), approximately 60% of abused seniors were mistreated or physically injured by their family members.
Nursing homes are now one of the most popular options for taking care of the elderly. Approximately 1.4 million Americans currently live in nursing homes. Unfortunately, despite having professionally trained caretakers in these nursing homes, physical, mental and financial elder abuse is still rampant today. Elder abuse in nursing homes often occurs when a caretaker is ill-equipped and incapable of having the patience and understanding to care for elders.
1 in 10 Americans over the age of 60 have experienced some form of elder abuse, according to the data from the National Council on Aging. Nursing homes, in particular, tend to make elders feel more isolated and alone, making them more vulnerable to mistreatment. It also makes it more difficult for them to speak out in case they get abused.
This doesn’t mean that you should hesitate to consider nursing homes as a viable option for retirement. There is a way to prevent elder abuse. Here are some tips on how you can prevent your loved one from being abused in nursing homes.
The First Thing You Should Do Is Take Action
If you gathered substantial proof that your loved one is being neglected or physically abused, immediately take action. This isn’t just for your loved one, but this is also for the sake of other elders. Taking action and apprehending the abuser can potentially save other elders from potentially suffering through the same caretaker or nursing home facility.
Contact an injury attorney experienced in elder abuse to help you with a claim. They can serve as a helpful legal guide and will ensure that your loved one will receive the justice that they deserve.
IF, You aren’t quite sure. Below are some tips and signs to look for if you suspect your older family member is being abused:
Regularly Check In
This might seem like an obvious option, but some people tend to leave their grandparents or parents in nursing homes and never bother to check their condition. Although professional caretakers monitor them, it is still important that you check in on their condition.
Frequently visit them as often as once a week to prevent them from being isolated. Ask them whether they’re happy and comfortable in their stay. If they show any strange behavior or signs of abuse, don’t hesitate to confront both your loved one and the management running the nursing home about it.
Familiarize Yourself With Your Caregiver
Although most caregivers are amazing people who dedicate their lives to looking after the elderly, there is still a small minority of caregivers who may mistreat your loved one.
Before leaving your loved one in someone else’s care, you must get to know the person handling them first. Do they seem kind enough? Do they have the patience to care for your loved one while you’re gone? Check their background. Do they have any criminal records or previous reports of abuse?
Watch Over Their Medication
If your loved one is prescribed maintenance drugs, you must regularly check on them.
According to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), 14% of nursing home residents filed claims for antipsychotic medication. 83% of the cases were for “off-label use,” which means that they were given for an unapproved condition, dosage, or age group.
Keep an eye on your loved ones and make sure that they are receiving the right dosage. Drug misuse may lead to serious health issues and sometimes even death.
Watch Out for Signs of Abuse
Observe any signs of sudden changes in your loved one’s mood and behavior. Often, this can be an early symptom of abuse. If some form of abuse occurs, it will eventually manifest in your loved one’s behavior.
If you are starting to feel suspicious about your loved one’s living conditions in their nursing home, don’t hesitate to trust your intuition. Stay attentive and keep regularly visiting your loved ones to observe them closely.