Elder abuse is more rampant in nursing homes and assisted care facilities than many people realize. With this fact in mind, it’s key for family members of elderly patients and residents to watch out for any signs of abuse. Here are six important tips that can help you prevent elder abuse in nursing homes and assisted care facilities in 2023:
1. Know When to Lawyer Up and Sound the Alarm
More importantly than any other tip on this list, it’s crucial to trust your gut when you know something is wrong. Sounding the alarm with the proper authorities, and seeking out a qualified assisted living care abuse lawyer to assist you in your fight will become necessary at this step. Thankfully, if you follow the other tips in this guide, you may have the ability to prevent abuse before it reaches this level. Having a good relationship with your elderly loved one, and ensuring that they feel they can trust you, will help you determine any sounding-the-alarm-worthy red flags. Every step in this guide will become simpler and smoother if you have a good relationship with your elderly loved one that’s in a nursing home.
2. Keep Tabs on the Facility Where Your Loved One is Staying
The more you know about the place where your loved one is staying, the better you can take care of them, and protect them from situations that could lead to abuse. It’s crucial to do your homework on any possible institutions if you’re thinking about putting a loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility. You want to guarantee that the building has top-notch security measures in place to protect residents. This is crucial because security precautions lessen the possibility of elopement and the entry of strangers without being seen. You should also think about finding out the organization’s policies regarding patient care, elder abuse prevention, and employee turnover rates.
3. Always Maintain a Proactive Abuse Prevention Mindset
Even if you feel your loved one is in a perfectly safe and kind environment, it’s always worth it to keep a proactive mindset about abuse prevention. After all, you’re not in the nursing home 24/7, so you can never fully protect your elderly loved one. New staff members could appear, or a crisis within the home could lead to a staff member that was once kind becoming abusive. Do not become a helicopter-family member, but be sure to give plenty of thought to any potential signs of abuse that you may spot.
4. Stay Informed About Your Loved One’s Experience
Your elderly loved one will feel more secure, loved, and happy if you keep up-to-date with their day-to-day experience in their nursing home. To give your loved one social support, schedule routine check-ins. You will be able to learn more about your loved one’s condition and ask any pertinent questions during this time. Listen for indications of tension. Is the person you care about acting differently or dodging questions? Regular communication with your loved one should enable you to identify any out-of-character behavior changes, such as mood swings or depressive episodes. Also, you can spot physical indications of abuse or neglect by making video calls or going in person to see your loved one.
5. Know What Signs of Elder Abuse You Should Be Looking For
Unfortunately, the variety of signs that could point to elder abuse is plentiful. The core types of elder abuse are as follows, however: physical, sexual, mental, financial, and facility-based abuse. In terms of facility-based abuse, staff failing to maintain the premises properly, and the equipment the residents use, would apply. Each of the other types of elder abuse is more self-explanatory in nature. However, the signs for each type can differ drastically. Everything from sudden antisocial behavior to unexplained bruising can point to physical, sexual, or mental abuse happening behind the scenes. When it comes to financial abuse, you should be on the lookout for any suspicious financial activity, or any exuberant gift-giving. If you can, try to play a part in your elderly loved one’s finances, and you will have a stronger ability to protect them from financial abuse.
6. Keep Notes About Your Loved One’s Experience
Lastly, you must keep notes and documentation aplenty regarding your loved one’s stay in the nursing home. Doing so can be invaluable if you ever need to seek legal action or report abuse to the authorities. Simply keeping basic records, payment stubs, and any questionable reports from the nursing home should suffice regarding normal day-to-day documentation. However, if you suspect abuse is happening, you should document anything and everything you can related to the suspected abuse.