Unfortunately, nursing home abuse frequently goes unreported. Due to this, nursing home patients often rely on kind staff members and loved ones to prevent abuse. If you’re worried that your loved one may be being abused, or you simply want to educate yourself about the issue, here are ten signs of unreported nursing home abuse that you should know about:
1. Sudden Emotional Withdrawal
Whenever a loved one in a nursing home suddenly becomes withdrawn or anti-social, you should do your best to find out what’s bothering them. In extreme cases, they may be experiencing these emotional shifts due to abuse. If your loved one is experiencing abuse from nursing home staff, you should contact a qualified nursing home abuse attorney as quickly as humanly possible.
2. Signs of Sexual Abuse
When sexual abuse is happening behind the scenes, there will be signs of its occurrence. If your elderly loved one suddenly has STIs, sexual infections, harsh bruising, or an aversion toward sexual topics, you should investigate. Victims of sexual abuse, especially in nursing homes, can have a difficult time coming forward. Due to this, it’s important to remain supportive, but not overbearing, as you look into any suspected nursing home sexual abuse.
3. Signs of Physical Abuse
Physical abuse is unfortunately one of the more common types of nursing home abuse elderly patients suffer. Once again, however, there are likely to be clear signs of abuse. Bruising, unexplained injuries, sudden obsessions with their skin being hidden, and other such signs should always be taken seriously. If you suspect your elderly loved one is being physically abused, ask them about it in a safe, secluded environment away from potential eavesdropping.
4. Signs of Mental Abuse
Mental abuse is one of the harder forms of abuse to both spot and address. That being said, stopping any mental abuse your elderly loved one is suffering is of utmost importance. Alongside emotional withdrawal, sudden mood changes, a lack of vocal expression, and other similar warning signs may occur. Being gentle as you look into signs of emotional and mental abuse is once again incredibly essential.
5. Unexplained Financial Problems
Many people fail to realize that financial exploitation has been a major form of abuse inflicted upon nursing home residents. Greedy staff members or home directors will trick, or coerce, elderly patients into giving them gifts, money, or other financially advantageous objects. Because elderly patients will often feel trapped, they will be more likely to give in to such demands. This is why you must stay connected to your elderly loved one’s finances if they will allow you to be.
6. Broken or Damaged Property
When elderly patients live in a nursing home, they often have limited property and belongings in their rooms. If this property is being damaged, you can be certain that something is going wrong with your loved one’s health and well-being. While abuse is not always the culprit, it could be a main factor in what’s going on. For this reason, be sure to investigate possible causes if your loved one’s property is suddenly missing, damaged, or broken.
7. Unkempt or Hazardous Living Spaces
Speaking of living spaces, keeping all living spaces clean and hazard-free is one of the top responsibilities of nursing home staff members. If your loved one is in a home where there are lots of visible hazards, and lots of unclean spaces, they are suffering from neglect. Alongside this base neglect, other forms of abuse may be occurring behind the scenes. Due to this, unkempt and hazardous living spaces are perhaps the most common and biggest red flags that you should be on the lookout for if you suspect that your loved one is suffering from abuse in their nursing home.
8. Nutritional Issues
Nutritional issues can destroy elderly patients’ lives and well-being. After all, residents are kept on a strict diet and medication regimen to ensure they do not suddenly fall ill, and that they remain as healthy as humanly possible. For this reason, if your loved one suddenly seems malnourished, or unhealthy, you should investigate quickly. Doing so can help you determine if abuse is to blame, or if another cause is at fault.
9. Fear of Talking About Staff
Your elderly loved one should have a general trust (and hopefully admiration for) their nursing home’s staff. If they are fearful of the staff, especially if they are afraid of talking around the staff, you should be incredibly concerned. If you do not trust other staff members or the nursing home’s director, you may need to consider getting law enforcement or legal representatives involved in uncovering what’s going on behind the scenes.
10. Sudden Signs of PTSD
PTSD is a serious, tragic condition. If your loved one is suffering from symptoms and signs of PTSD, something is likely happening behind the scenes that shouldn’t be. Once again, this is a situation where getting outside professionals involved is highly recommended (for the safety of everyone involved).