When you place your loved one under the care of others you expect the utmost attention to be paid to their emotional and physical well-being.
However, elder abuse is becoming an increasingly visible issue in the United States and a main concern for anyone placing their elder in assisted living conditions. Identifying abuse without video proof can often be very difficult, but here is a list of five major things that should raise a red flag that your loved one is being mistreated.
1. Persistent conflict with caregiver
It is reasonable to expect a bit of resentment toward a caregiver given the elder’s loss of independence or state of mental stability, but if this conflict never seems to subside or become increasingly severe, there may be emotional abuse involved.
Additionally, if the caregiver avoids discussing the relationship with you, it may be a good idea to reassess whether the situation is a safe and healthy one for the elder.
2. Uncharacteristic changes in behavior
If the elder suddenly becomes withdrawn or uninvolved in their usual activities or has differences in alertness, this is a red flag that warrants further to determine whether abuse or neglect is the root cause.
Sometimes emotionally or physically abused elders will also exhibit behaviors that resemble the symptoms of dementia like talking to themselves, rocking, or developing a new physical tic.
3. Sudden weight loss
If the elder seems thin it may be an indicator that they are not getting the dietary attention they need or are being emotionally or psychologically abused to the point that they no longer have a desire to eat.
4. Dirty environment or lack of hygiene
Cluttered Rooms, dirty clothes or bed sores may point toward elderly neglect; the most common form of elder abuse. In some instances caregivers may be ignorant of the person’s needs, but in others, necessities are intentionally neglected as punishment for non-cooperation or poor behavior.
5. Inadequately explained fractures, bruises, welts, cuts, sores or burns
Accidents happen in nursing homes, but if injuries seem to be reoccurring in the same areas and caregiver or elders seem reluctant to discuss them, it is time to start asking questions.
Elders may not be able to explain all of their injuries due to diminished mental capacity so it is a good idea to keep tabs on reported “accidents” to uncover any potential physical mistreatment or intentional abuse. Sexual abuse can be the hardest to identify, but if the elder has bruises around the breasts or genital area, it is cause for immediate action.
6. Set up a hidden camera and see it for yourself
Many people may be hesitant to take the step to secretly monitor their loved one, but it is really the only way to confirm that abuse or neglect is taking place.
Often nursing home residents have a limited ability to communicate or have mental complications which can make personal accounts of situations unreliable, and easily refuted by caretakers. By setting up a hidden surveillance camera, you can definitively know if there is any foul play or neglect.
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