Protecting Your Elders From Abuse In Nursing Homes

diabetic elderly
An hospitalized elderly patient - Image Copyrights by: Jess Pohlman - Source: Flickr Creative Commons

Aging is a natural part of life, but with aging comes many unknowns, including what one’s health and living situation will look like in the final years. As our loved ones grow older, it can be challenging to know how to provide the best care and quality of life for them, especially if they can no longer maintain their independence and need specialized care and treatment that you are unable to give. 

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities provide a place for such care and treatment, and many individuals trust their family members and wards to these facilities every year. But what happens when these places betray these individuals’ trust and neglect or abuse their loved ones? Fortunately, there are ways to prevent, detect, and protect your and others’ loved ones from caregivers and facilities that would mistreat them. 

Preventing Elder Abuse

Preventing elder abuse from occurring in the first place is probably at the top of most families’ lists when it comes to placing their loved ones in a nursing home or similar facility. One key way to prevent this abuse is by selecting the best facility for your family member, depending on their wants and needs in their later years. 

Because selecting a nursing home is an important decision that many families face every year, studies have been conducted to determine how individual states compare to each other when it comes to safety and elder abuse complaints. These studies, paired with the above individual factors, can also be helpful when deciding on the best place for your loved one.

By ensuring that the facility that you are placing your parent, grandparent, or guardian in is reputable, safe, clean, and qualified, you and your loved one can be assured that they have the best possible chance of being kept safe and healthy. 

Assisted living

Detecting Elder Abuse

However, despite our best efforts, elder abuse still occurs in even the best facilities. Because of this sad fact, it falls to you to look out for signs of elder abuse every time you interact with the patient or resident as a preventative measure. Every visit, phone call, and report is an opportunity for you to act as your loved one’s protector, ensuring their health and happiness. 

By making an effort to detect signs of abuse such as changes in personality or physical appearance, you can better prevent or protect your loved one from possible elder abuse.

Protecting From Further Elder Abuse

If you have detected elder abuse in your loved one’s facility, you must act immediately. The most obvious thing to do is to immediately remove your elder from the nursing home that is inflicting the abuse and report the abuse to the proper authorities.

However, removing and reporting are not your only options in cases of abuse. Finding a nursing home can be challenging the first time around, especially if your loved one needs specialized care, so you will have to begin looking for a new facility or other forms of caregiving as soon as they are removed from the home. If your loved one was in a private facility, then your family may have been personally footing the bill for their care, creating a financial burden on your search. Your loved one may also need extensive medical treatment as well as various types of therapy, including psychotherapy and physical therapy, to recover from the abuse or neglect. All of these costs pile up quickly and can leave you and your loved one feeling re-victimized by the abuse. 

Luckily, there are ways to receive financial compensation through legal action if your loved one has been abused. Most states have elder abuse attorneys and firms that are well-qualified and equipped to handle these very serious and delicate suits. While legal action can be a bit long and tedious at the beginning, it is worth it to look into this option to ensure that you and your loved one get the justice and compensation that you deserve. 

Conclusion

Aging is a fact of life. Unfortunately, this fact can leave our loved ones vulnerable to those who do not care for them or seek to do them harm. By ensuring that we are selecting the best facilities, watching for signs of elder abuse, and taking immediate action to protect our loved ones, we can rest easy knowing that their final years will be lived out in health, peace, and happiness. 

Article written by Paige Wright