Your mother lives in a nursing home. Your father passed away a few years ago, and it was hard for her, but you all pulled together around her and she really did seem to bounce back. She started to seem like herself again: happy, engaging, loving and excited to see her family.
Unfortunately, due to her age and some physical limitations, she had to move into a nursing home. She simply could not live on her own, without your father around to help out, and you and your siblings could not move in with her because you have your own families.
After she moved into the nursing home, you started to see some serious mood changes. She seemed withdrawn, like she never wanted to socialize with anyone. She slept a lot more than normal. She seemed irritable when you went to see her, especially if specific staff members were around. That happiness that you always noticed in her faded away. You’re not sure if it turned into full-fledged depression or not, but she did not seem like herself.
There can be answers for this that fit her lifestyle. Maybe losing your father was harder on her than you thought. Maybe having to move out of her house really impacted her and she doesn’t like the nursing home. Maybe she’s just getting older and struggling to deal with that. It happens.
However, you do need to be aware that these types of issues can be signs of nursing home abuse. That abuse could be physical, financial, mental, emotional or sexual. Even if you do not see physical signs like cuts and bruises, the changes in mood and attitude could tell you that the abuse is taking place.
In this example, perhaps the biggest sign is that you notice it the most when certain staff members are around. That could indicate that your mother is worried about them or fearful. That may mean they are involved in the abuse.
The first thing you’re probably thinking is that your mother would tell you if anything that serious happened. Remember that the elderly do not always speak up. Maybe she feels afraid. Maybe she feels ashamed. Maybe she doesn’t want to burden you with the news. Or, maybe she just has mental issues that make it hard for her to remember what is going on and what to report. There are many reasons she may say nothing.
If you do find out that she is getting abused in a nursing home, make sure you know exactly what steps to take in South Carolina. You must understand how to protect your loved ones as they grow older and how to make things right.