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Keeping Seniors Safe From Nursing Home Abuse


Deciding to help your elderly loved one move into a nursing home or assisted living facility can be extremely difficult. When we know that we are no longer able to provide the care that our elderly loved ones need, helping them transition to a facility that meets their needs is best. We put our trust in nursing homes to take care of our loved ones in order to keep them safe and healthy. Unfortunately, elder abuse remains far too common in Connecticut and throughout the United States. If your loved one is in an assisted living facility or Connecticut nursing home, it is essential to watch for nursing home abuse signs. 

Nursing Home Abuse is Far Too Common

According to the National Council on Aging, one out of 10 Americans over the age of 60 have suffered from elder abuse. Elder abuse can be physical as well as mental. There are many different types of elder abuse, including the following:

  • Mental or emotional abuse: When this happens, the elderly individual is exposed to threats, verbal abuse, manipulation, or intimidation by a caregiver in the nursing home.
  • Sexual abuse: Sadly, sexual abuse is far too common in nursing homes. Any unwanted sexual contact of a nursing home resident is abuse. 
  • Neglect: When we place our loved ones in a nursing home or assisted living facility, we expect that the nursing home will take care of our loved one’s basic needs. Neglect can happen when the nursing home staff fails to take care of an elderly individual’s basic needs, including eating, bathing, dressing, taking medication, and getting enough exercise. Caregiver neglect or self-neglect are both dangerous, and they can be deadly for at-risk, elderly individuals.
  • Physical abuse: Signs of physical abuse include cuts, rope burns, bruises, and even bone fractures.


Signs of Physical Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes

Discovering that your loved one has been physically abused in a nursing home can be devastating. Physical elder abuse signs vary with each individual case, and it is important to know all of the warning signs. When you visit your loved one at the nursing home, check for bruises or welts, cuts and scrapes, and burns. If your loved one has suffered a broken bone or a sprained wrist, this could be a sign of physical abuse. Check for bruises in the shape of someone’s handprint. Pressure marks or sores on the body can be another sign of physical abuse.

Sometimes, nursing home staff will claim that an accident happened to cover up abuse. In one case, an elderly woman needed to be admitted to a hospital for bruises, broken bones in her hand, and deep cuts. An investigation revealed that one of the nursing home staff members had beaten her and another nursing home resident.


Signs of Emotional Abuse in Nursing Homes

Emotional abuse can be more difficult to ascertain than physical abuse, but emotional abuse can be just as damaging to an elderly nursing home resident’s health. Emotional abuse can include threats, intimidation, and manipulation. If your loved one has withdrawn from others and becomes isolated or is hesitant to talk openly about their nursing home care, they may have suffered emotional abuse. 

Additionally, if your loved one is making up stories about how bruises, cuts or other injuries happen, they may be covering up emotional abuse. Finally, if you notice that your loved one has started experiencing fear, depression, anger, or anxiety, they could suffer from elder abuse. 


Warnings Signs of Nursing Home Neglect

Nursing home neglect can be extremely dangerous and even deadly, especially for at-risk elders. When neglect goes on for weeks or even months, it can be just as harmful to your elderly loved one’s health as any other type of abuse. Signs of neglect include weight loss, dehydration, and bedsores or pressure ulcers. Neglect can also include leaving an elderly individual in one place for an extended period without care or supervision.

Neglect can also happen when the staff fails to provide walkers, dentures, medical aids, eyeglasses, or hearing aids. Elderly individuals need consistent and regular assistance. Nursing home neglect can also lead to unsafe living conditions, such as soiled bedding or bug infestations. Finally, many elderly individuals who live in a nursing home need medication for various medical conditions. Negligence can include a failure to administer prescription medication on time.


Risk Factors for Elder Abuse

Any elderly person can be the victim of elder abuse, but some have a higher risk of abuse or neglect than others. If your loved one has any of the following risk factors, it is wise to be extra vigilant about nursing home abuse:

  • Age: Elderly individuals over the age of 80 are at a higher risk of elder abuse, according to Northwestern University and Rush University research conducted in 2014.
  • Gender: Women are more likely to become victimized with elder abuse. According to the World Health Organization, elderly women suffer from more severe elder abuse over longer periods.
  • Health: Elderly individuals with poor physical health or mental health challenges such as Alzheimer’s or dementia are more likely to suffer elder abuse. A study conducted by the National Council of Aging found that approximately 50% of individuals with dementia suffered from elder abuse and neglect. 
  • Isolation: The more isolated the elderly individual is, the greater risk of elder abuse. Elders who are withdrawn, isolated, or who live at home are at a higher risk of suffering abuse.
  • Caregiver: When a caregiver lives with an elderly individual, and the elderly individual depends on the caregiver for financial support, elder abuse could take place. This is especially true if the caregiver abuses drugs, has a criminal background, or attempts to steal money from the elderly individual.


Contact Our Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Today

If you know or suspect that your elderly loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, we can help. Contact The Law Office of Michael E. Skiber today to schedule your free initial consultation.