With a growing elderly population of aging baby boomers, residents in nursing homes have also increased. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there are over 1.5 million individuals who currently live in nursing homes. Unfortunately, many of these vulnerable people are subjected to abuse and neglect. The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that up to 3 to 5 percent of the elderly population have suffered abuse at the hands of a nursing home caregiver. However, it is possible the numbers are much higher since, according to the Nursing Home Abuse Guide, the elderly are part of a demographic not likely to report abuse, whether out of fear or an inability to communicate it.
Before delving into the signs of abuse, however, it is important to note that abuse is not strictly physical. It can come in many forms and, in some cases, without the person’s knowledge. For example, financial exploitation is a common form of abuse, involving theft, or coercion to revise wills. Just because it does not leave a mark, does not mean it is not abuse.
Other forms of abuse include, sexual, psychological, neglect, and physical abuse. All forms of abuse are damaging and can lead to apparent signs in the victim. Be aware of sudden changes in behavior, moodiness, fear of being touched, or unexplained wounds. If your loved one is being neglected, whether intentionally or not, they may have bed sores, exhibit symptoms of malnutrition, dehydration, weight loss, or infections. Neglect is often a result of an understaffed nursing home, but that is not an excuse to allow someone to suffer. In addition to these signs, here are a few other red flags to look out for:
- Heavy sedation
- Frequent illness, or illnesses not reported to family
- Reclusive behavior
- Hesitance to speak in the presence of staff
- Unsanitary conditions
If you suspect that a loved one in a nursing home is being abused, it is important to report it to your local authorities and get in touch with Adult Protective Services. At the Law Offices of Dan Davis, we can help obtain compensation on behalf of your loved one and ensure that justice is achieved. We have a team of skilled personal injury attorneys who are prepared to hold neglectful or abusive staff accountable for their actions. Call us today for a free case evaluation at (405) 531-9983.