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On June 15, groups like the World Health Organization and International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse seek to raise awareness of the danger posed to our seniors by neglect and abuse. Nursing homes are a frequent setting for elder abuse, with many seniors at the mercy of caregivers who might be under-trained, under-equipped, or downright malicious.
If you have a family member who resides in a nursing home, it is up to you to observe your loved one’s living conditions and take appropriate action if you think neglect or misconduct is occurring. Many elderly people don’t speak up for fear of reprisal from their abusers, so it’s important to stay alert.
Take the time to make regular visits to your loved one, and evaluate the facility for the following:
- Are the grounds well-maintained?
- Does the facility seem secure?
- Do hallways, common areas, and other parts of the facility appear to be clean and free from clutter?
- Do most residents seem happy?
When you visit your family member, also keep these questions in mind:
- Is your loved one behaving differently?
- Does he or she have cuts, bruises, and other signs of trauma?
- Is his or her room unsanitary or in disarray?
- Is he or she receiving needed medical care?
- Has the family member lost significant weight, or seem to be in poor health?
- Does the presence of certain staff members seem to aggravate your loved one?
In some cases, staff at the nursing home will be forthcoming about your loved one’s condition and be willing to answer your questions. If you suspect wrongdoing or get the feeling that your family member is in danger, though, it’s important to trust your instincts and take steps to ensure the safety of your elder.
Colling Gilbert Wright & Carter has extensive experience representing victims of elder abuse and their families in cases against nursing homes and other care facilities. We are proud to pursue justice on behalf of the elderly in their time of need.