When you helped your aging parent transition from living independently to residing in a nursing facility, you probably visited several centers before finding the one that you determined best fit your loved one’s needs. It can be an unsettling feeling knowing that you can’t be with your parent 24/7. You must rely on staff members to provide quality care. Sadly, that doesn’t always happen. Elder abuse is a serious problem in California and throughout the country.
Elder abuse occurs in many forms, including physical, psychological or emotional abuse. Financial exploitation is another way in which individuals with malicious intent may take advantage of the aged population. Knowing what to watch for and what to do if a problem arises may help protect your family member.
Certain illnesses or injuries may be signs of elder abuse
If your loved one has bed sores (especially sores that are infected) or develops a condition such as a venereal disease or vaginal infection, it may be a sign of elder abuse. Professional caregivers know how to prevent bed sores. And sexually transmitted diseases in an elderly person who lives in a nursing home suggests mistreatment.
Does your loved one appear disheveled and unkempt?
When you visit your family member in a California nursing facility, he or she should look clean and well cared for. If your loved one’s hair is in mats or looks unwashed, if there is a stench in the room from soiled linens or clothing or he or she looks dirty, it is a situation that merits immediate investigation. Accidents sometimes happen to elders, especially if they have a health condition that causes incontinence.
However, staff should resolve such incidents in a timely manner. Hospital staff should never leave your loved one to lie in a soiled bed or let them wear dirty clothing. If you bring the issue to the staff’s attention and it happens again, it may be a sign of elder abuse.
Unexplained injuries are a major red flag
If you notice any injuries on your loved one’s body, including swelling, inflammation, cuts or bruises, etc., it is critical to request a meeting with administrators. There might be a logical explanation for an injury, such as a bruise that occurred if your loved one bumped his or her head. If administrators or staff members cannot provide a reasonable explanation, consider it a sign that your loved one is at great risk.
Elder abuse causes many severe injuries and fatalities in California and beyond. By seeking outside support from local law enforcement or legal agencies, you may be able to protect your family member, as well as prevent future abuse of other patients.