Four Ways Nursing Homes Abuse The Elderly And How To Prevent Them

As our parents and other loved ones grow older, taking care of them can become a much bigger responsibility. Although a natural process, aging brings many changes that gradually impact and reduce the quality of life. As we enter our golden years, we may significantly lose mobility, vigor, immunity, and mental acuity, necessitating round-the-clock care. Many family members try to provide their aging loved ones with this care at home, but it can often be challenging. In such a scenario, elderly homes have emerged as a godsend in allowing us to provide our elders with excellent care. However, it’s not all positive. When left unchecked, elderly homes can become abusive, negative spaces where our elders may not be able to defend themselves. Abuse at nursing homes can take many forms, and it’s critical to spot the warning signals immediately. If you’re interested in learning more, keep reading below. 

Negligence 

Neglect is, unfortunately, one of the most common causes of nursing home abuse and can cause irreparable damage to elderly patients. Families of elderly patients often admit them into elderly homes because they cannot provide them with the adequate care they need. However, in some cases, nursing home staff members neglect to provide their patients the care they are supposed to. 

Although there are other symptoms of neglect, bedsores are the most typical. Suppose your elderly loved ones cannot move around independently due to illness or injury. In that case, frequent shifting is necessary to prevent bedsores. However, if you notice any redness, bruising, and blisters, their caregivers may be neglecting them. A sure-shot sign of neglect is if they have stage 4 bedsores, which are characterized by tissue loss and infection. Trained staff members know exactly how to prevent such bedsores, and their existence can mean that the elderly patient has been neglected for a long time. If you notice such signs, it’s imperative to step in immediately and report them to higher authorities. 

Mental abuse

Nursing homes are often advertised as places that provide their residents with medical and mental care, ensuring they can live the rest of their lives in peace. However, in many cases, nursing homes can be breeding grounds for intense mental abuse. These homes have a severe power disparity, and in such cases, caregivers can start mentally abusing the residents. 

Mental abuse can include threats, intimidation, cruel jokes, humiliation, and controlling behavior. Caregivers may purposely deny the residents care, humiliate them in front of others, and impose conditions on them. Moreover, they can verbally abuse and intimidate them by yelling and threats. You should look into the situation if you see your elderly loved ones becoming reclusive, fearful, or uneasy, especially around specific caretakers. Asking them to talk to an external source and corroborating with other residents can let you know if they’re being abused. 

Sexual abuse 

Sexual abuse is one of the most common forms of elderly abuse in nursing homes, but it also goes overlooked. Sexual abuse can harm mental and physical well-being and leave lasting scars. Due to the stigma surrounding the topic, elders can often be reluctant to share their stories, making it even more important to watch out for the signs. 

Elderly residents can be sexually abused because they need help dressing, using the toilet, and getting in bed. If your elder acts suspiciously, something may be wrong. They may be withdrawn, scared, and have unexplainable bruises in sensitive places. Addressing these signs is vital to protect your loved ones. Report to the higher authorities for an immediate investigation. You can help prevent further abuse to your loved ones and other residents. Perpetrators can be both men and women, and the abuse can affect all residents regardless of gender. 

Physical abuse 

Owing to the stark differences in the power dynamic between caregivers and residents, elderly residents can be highly predisposed to physical abuse. Elderly residents already have delicate health, and abuse can further impair their recovery. Physical abuse can start small and can escalate immensely if left unchecked. It can include pushing, shoving, or even hitting or beating residents as a form of intimidation and is often accompanied by other forms of abuse. 

Preventing physical abuse requires you to take certain steps. The first step is to check in so you can immediately identify any problems. Moreover, you need to check whether any of the caregivers in the facility have any previous record of misconduct or abuse. Keeping in touch with other residents can also help you develop a clearer picture of the caregiver’s conduct and can help you verify your concerns. Stepping in immediately and taking preventative measures is the best way to safeguard your elderly loved ones. 

Conclusion 

Many of us send our loved ones to nursing homes believing it to be the best place they’ll get the care they need. However, if left unchecked elderly homes can become toxic places where the residents can be exposed to all kinds of abuse. This guide can help you identify the different kinds of abuse and the signs to watch out for. Moreover, it can help you stop all forms of abuse and protect your loved ones. 


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