The National Institute of Health estimates that most people who live beyond 75 years will require at least partial living assistance. In years past, when the older generations needed care, family members were able to share the burden and aid aging parents. However, with the demands of society and the increased need for two-income households, it has become more challenging to provide adequate care for our aging parents without the aid of a senior care facility. Although it is uncommon, there have been instances of elderly abuse in these facilities and it is important to know what to do.
The most common form of elderly abuse is financial. Sadly, there have been cases where the elderly have been coerced into giving away money. Other cases have involved inflated medical charges or outright theft. Keeping an eye on your parents’ finances, limiting the amount of cash they have on hand, and requiring explanations about any unusual charges can help prevent this type of abuse.
The second most common type of elderly abuse is neglect or the withholding of care. The cause of this type of abuse is generally an overwhelmed system. Make sure that there is an appropriate nurse to patient and aide to patient ratio in the care facility, and make sure they are appropriately trained. If the nurses and aides become too overwhelmed by the number of patients, the smaller, less urgent tasks will be put off or ignored. Look for bed sores, unexpected weight loss, or incontinence issues as an indication of neglect. Act quickly if you notice any of these signs, as neglect can increase the number of hospital visits your parent may require.
Berating or verbal bullying is another form of abuse to be on the lookout for. Has your parent become withdrawn? Are they depressed or afraid? Are they afraid to ask for help? Are there specific staff members they don’t like? If this is happening, in addition to taking action with the nursing facility, also take the time to find a good therapist to help your parent recover their emotional well-being.
Finally, there is physical abuse, this is the least common form of abuse but probably the most devastating, often causing hospitalization, and can be fatal. You must not delay your intervention. Unexplained bruises, head injuries, and broken bones should be immediately suspect and, if abuse is clear, criminal charges should be filed promptly.
In addition to the resources provided by Adult Protective Services, you will also want to retain a nursing home abuse attorney omaha ne if you notice any type of abuse. An attorney will provide the legal means of sanctions against the nursing home, financial compensation for your parents, and ensure that criminal charges are filed correctly.
Keeping an open line of communication with your aging parent and an eye on their care facility will go a long way in preventing elderly abuse.And if it occurs, acting quickly will protect your parent from harm. You will also be able to ensure their financial safety.