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3 Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse - And What You Can Do

Do you suspect your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse? There are three common signs that abuse is happening. Here's what to look for and what to do about it.

When your family member requires more care than you are able to offer at home, it may be time for them to move to an assisted living facility. For most adults, this decision is incredibly difficult. Your family member may not want to move. They might even be scared. You may worry whether you're making the right decision or whether they will be safe. Assisted living facilities and nursing homes are designed to be incredibly safe for elderly adults. They provide a place where they can have some independence, receive regular and nutritious meals, and experience prompt medical care. For example, if your mother has had a stroke and needs to be monitored round-the-clock, you may not be able to provide this type of care at home. An assisted living facility or nursing home, however, can ensure that she is carefully protected even while you're at work. This type of care center ensures that your loved one does not wander off during the day and that they don't get lost. Unfortunately, nursing homes are not without risk. Because of this, it's important to make sure that you're carefully watching for signs and symptoms of abuse. If you suspect your family member's nursing home may have a problem, there are a few things you can keep an eye out for.

1. Strange bruises

According to Nursing Home Abuse Guide, as many as 10% of nursing home residents may experience abuse each year (see Resources). This means that despite the widespread availability of nursing homes and elder care, adults are still being abused in these facilities. One of the most common symptoms of elder abuse is bruising. This can occur due to neglect. If an elderly adult falls down and there is no one to help them, they could develop a bruise. If they are forcefully restrained or pushed by a staff member, they could also develop a bruise. While elderly adults do tend to bruise more easily than their younger counterparts, bruising is not normal and should not be ignored.

2. Unhappiness

Does your family member seem unhappy when you visit? While loneliness may be part of the adjustment period, prolonged unhappiness is something you should pay attention to. Elder abuse isn't always physical. Nursing home members may sometimes restrict the movements of an elderly resident by forcing them to remain in their bedroom, for example. Other times, nursing home residents may experience financial abuse at the hands of the administration. If your family member feels helpless, they may demonstrate this through unhappiness.

3. Unpredictable emotionsOne of the most common signs of abuse is extreme emotions. Does your family member seem happy one moment and sad the next? Are their emotions very unpredictable? While this can sometimes be brushed off as a sign of dementia or even Alzheimer's, keep in mind that elderly adults who are of sound mind do not typically have extreme emotions unless something is wrong. If your family member feels trapped, scared, abandoned, or abused, they may behave in strange ways. Make sure you pay attention to these emotions.

Want to learn more? Reach out to your attorney today to talk about nursing home abuse and your family member.

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