Unfortunately, elder abuse in elder care facilities and nursing homes is very real, and not uncommon. Those who have a family member or loved one in an elder care facility or nursing home need to be aware of any warning signs of abuse.
One of the most common signs of elder abuse is decubitus ulcers, or “bedsores.” Unless a physician has indicated that bedsores are unavoidable, a person who enters an elder care facility or nursing home without bedsores should not develop them during their stay. Bedsores are very painful and, when left untreated, can cause serious infection and death.
Another sign of elder abuse is unexplained injuries. Common injuries such as skin tears, bruises, and fractured bones may be caused by inadequate care. These injuries often occur when an elderly person is carelessly transported to and from his or her bed. Many of these injuries are entirely avoidable with proper staffing.
Beyond physical abuse, elder citizens may also suffer mental abuse at elder care facilities and nursing homes. Mental abuse occurs when facility employees speak to patients in a way that is belittling, derogatory, intimidating, or disrespectful. Although mental abuse does not leave any physical marks, it may cause senior citizens to become inexplicably withdrawn from activities they normally enjoy, or become unusually depressed.
It is important to be alert for any indication that something may be wrong. Many senior citizens unfortunately suffer in silence, because they cannot communicate their situation to their loved ones. Pay close attention for markings of physical abuse, and also unexplained changes in mood or behavior. If you sense that something is wrong, communicate your concerns with a manager of the elder care facility or nursing home.