If a parent, grandparent, or other relative has been placed in a nursing home, finding out that they’re being abused by the staff can be terrifying. You and your loved one don’t have to tolerate malicious treatment by a trusted caregiver, but you might be confused about what constitutes elder abuse and what you can do about it.
Elder abuse is a willful act, or failure to act, which endangers a person over the age of 60. This abuse might be acts or threats of physical assault, but it may be more subtle, like the improper use of sedative drugs to subdue a resident. It may involve gross negligence, such as refusal to provide services which the facility is expected to provide, like medication, proper nutrition, or anything else required for the resident’s health.
Some older adults are facing issues related to health, mobility, and even finances that might make them hesitate to report abuse at the hands of someone younger. They might fear retaliation in the form of physical attacks, or expulsion from the facility. For this reason, it’s crucial that you take note of warning signs, especially bruises or malnutrition, although not all signs are so obvious and may be mistaken for normal signs of aging. Be alert to any sudden or unexplained changes in alertness, self-care, or energy level.
When the signs point to elder abuse, you need to act quickly, especially if your loved one is in poor health. Start by reporting the abuse and if possible, getting your loved one away from it, whether this means taking them home or moving them to another facility. Not all residents will want to leave the facility, however. They may have made friends or gotten used to their routines, or they might have trouble believing that another facility will be better. Be sensitive to these concerns and any others that your loved one has. Communication is crucial to both recognizing and addressing incidents or patterns of abuse.
If the abuse has caused harm to your loved one, you may want to seek compensation on his or her behalf. Contact the Franco Firm at (813) 872-0929 for a consultation.