More than 3 million elderly Americans currently reside in nursing homes or utilize nursing home services, and this number is expected to grow as the baby boomer generation ages. As the population shifts and expands, we hope to see more attention paid to an issue that affects millions of people: nursing home abuse and neglect. For many, this has already become a concern. If you suspect your loved one or a resident is being abused or neglected, there are steps you can take to open an investigation and get them the help they deserve.
Signs of Abuse
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Aging, the most important step you can take to prevent elder abuse is to stay involved in your loved one’s life. This way, you’re able to monitor them for signs of abuse or negative changes. Some signs of abuse or neglect include:
Bruising, cuts or abrasions that are not easily explained.
A noticeable change in personality, such as withdrawing from activities, or unusual depression.
Sudden changes in overall health or well-being. Indicators typically include weight loss or hygiene changes.
A shift in normal relationships. For instance, your loved one refuses to speak to a caregiver or quits communicating with companions.
If you suspect abuse or neglect, consider changing the routine of your visits. Try showing up at a different time of day and you may witness a very different environment than what you are used to seeing.
It is important to know there are state and local resources and organizations dedicated to preventing and stopping elder abuse.
Kansas Elder Abuse Hotline: 1-800-842-0078 or click here.
Missouri Elder Abuse Hotline: 1-800-392-0210 or click here.
Illinois Elder Abuse Hotline: 1-866-800-1409 or click here.
If you have questions or concerns and need to take the next step in protecting your loved one, don’t hesitate to contact me. Taking legal action is a significant but often necessary step in keeping loved ones safe and preventing abuse.
For more information and to learn more about signs of elder abuse, visit the National Center on Elder Abuse website.