Avoiding Abuse in Elder Care Facilities
If you are in the process of moving a loved one into a senior care community, it’s natural to hope and expect that the staff members at the facility will treat your loved one with the care, attention, and respect that they deserve. While this does happen in most care communities, the sad reality is that reports of abuse, neglect, theft, and mistreatment are not altogether uncommon in these types of facilities.
While most care facilities provide excellent, attentive care to residents, it is important to keep in mind that there are some facilities that fail to provide acceptable assistance to those in their care. As such, it’s important for you to properly investigate any facility you are considering to minimize the likelihood of your loved one suffering from any kind of mistreatment.
Preventing Against Elder Abuse
One of the best things that you can do to protect your loved one from elder abuse is to thoroughly research the facilities you are considering, and make sure that you visit each and every facility in person in order to look for signs that could indicate that abuse or neglect is occurring.
When researching facilities ahead of time, there are a number of online databases that you can search to see if facilities have had any charges filed against them in the past. It’s important to note, however, that charges can vary significantly, from minor, insignificant details, to reports of physical and emotional abuse. As such, it’s important to actually read reports on a given facility to make sure you get an accurate picture of what has happened there in the past.
Additionally, there are a few things that you should keep in mind whenever you visit any care facility. When you are trying to determine the type of care your loved one could receive at a given facility, make sure to look for the following things during your visit:
- Is the staff attentive, or are they withdrawn, not present, or talking amongst themselves?
- How do the residents appear emotionally – are they happy or withdrawn?
- How do the residents appear physically – do they look well fed and taken care of, or do they appear gaunt or malnourished?
- Are the facilities safe and well maintained?
While these questions cannot always give you a full picture of an assisted living facility, they can help you to identify blatant problems quite quickly, even on a first visit to a community.
Signs of Abuse or Neglect
One of the best things that you can do for a loved one in an assisted living facility is to stay in close touch with them once they actually move into a community and stay alert for possible signs of abuse or mistreatment. This way, should the unthinkable happen, you will be able to quickly put a stop to it. Some of the most common signs you should be on the look out for include:
- Physical indications of abuse, such as bruising, broken bones, and lacerations
- Sudden and inexplicable weight loss
- The appearance of bed sores
- Sudden and inexplicable changes in personality, especially becoming withdrawn
- A change in temperament when staff members are present
- Inexplicable changes in your loved one’s financial accounts
By keeping a close eye on your loved one’s well being, you can help bring an end to any abuse or mistreatment that may be occurring in their community.
- Lori Thomas has decades of experience as a caregiver. Her writing for SeniorAdvice.com is informed by years of research as well as hands-on family experience caring for her now late mother, who had chronic health issues for most of her life. Lori is an integral part of the SeniorAdvice.com management team, acting as Vice President of Marketing and Chief Editor.
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