The sad truth is that nursing home neglect and abuse does happen. You can read all the reviews. You can tour all the facilities. You can talk to all the directors. Doing your research helps, but there is still a chance that your loved one will suffer unnecessarily at the home you select.
How can you see it as soon as it starts? That's the hard part. Even if you had time to visit every single day, you're still there for only a mere fraction of the time your loved one is in the facility. You cannot keep an eye on them at all times. You need to know exactly what to look for.
1. Deflection when asking questions
If you ask the staff questions and they try to deflect you and refuse to answer, it is a massive red flag. Even someone who simply does not know the answer should tell you that they honestly do not know but that they can look into it for you. If it seems like they're evading, they could be trying to hide something.
2. Attitude changes
Even if you cannot see any physical problems with your loved one, a serious attitude change could indicate that some type of abuse is taking place. Typically, the person will seem more irritable, angry, sad or depressed. If they used to be happy and talkative and now they appear quiet, withdrawn and troubled, you need to ask yourself why that happened.
Remember, some elderly people struggle with memory issues. In a lot of cases, abusive workers prey on these people because they cannot defend themselves or tell anyone what is happening. Attitude shifts and emotional changes tell you that there is a problem, even if they can't tell you exactly what it is.
3. Physical injuries
Injuries are perhaps the most obvious sign that someone is being neglected or abused. Neglect may lead to issues like bedsores or fall injuries when the person does not get assistance with activities like showering and getting out of bed. Abuse can lead to bruises, cuts, scrapes and much more. Every case is different, but the key is to note any new injury, try to find out how it happened and watch out for patterns.
4. Avoiding specific caregivers
Does your loved one ever ask not to get treatment or care from a certain individual? Does that person's arrival cause them to become withdrawn or nervous? These reactions may tell you that something more is happening when you are not around.
Do you think that your loved one is suffering from neglect or abuse? If so, make sure you know all of the legal steps you can take.