Nursing homes and long-term care facilities should be safe places for elderly or ill people who are not currently able to live at home.
Unfortunately, many older adults in Illinois are abused or neglected in these facilities. By learning about the five most common warning signs associated with nursing home abuse, families and friends can protect their loved ones from mistreatment.
Warning sign #1: Unexpected bruising or scarring
Unexpected bruises, welts or scars can be a sign of abuse. Many people bruise more easily as they age, but serious bruises should never be ignored. A Chicago nursing home abuse attorney knows that symmetrical marks on both sides of the body are often evidence of mishandling or violence.
Warning sign #2: Failure to use medication properly
Elderly people are often dependent on caregivers to offer them correct doses of medication and protect them from improper use. When nursing home residents suffer an apparent overdose, or when their prescriptions remain unused, they may be victims of abuse. Inappropriate doses of sedatives are sometimes used to mask the signs of mistreatment in nursing homes.
Warning sign #3: Depression and withdrawal
Nursing home residents do not automatically become depressed and withdrawn. If a loved one does not speak, react or show interest in usual activities, the cause may be emotional abuse or neglect. Emotional abuse in nursing homes can include all of the following:
- Deliberate isolation
- Intimidation or threats
Cruel treatment of this sort can lead to depression in many cases.
Warning sign #4: Broken bones, dislocations and sprains
Broken bones are common among elderly people, especially among elderly women with osteoporosis, but every injury should be investigated to rule out the possibility of abuse. Caregivers may commit violent acts and cover them up to look like accidents, as a Chicago nursing home abuse attorney is aware.
Warning sign #5: Financial irregularities
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 500,000 people over the age of 60 are neglected or abused in America every year. Abuse can also involve financial exploitation of elderly people. If family members or friends notice mysterious changes in a loved one’s finances, such as unexpected withdrawals or sudden changes to wills, they should investigate the possibility of abuse.
Nursing home abuse is a serious threat for older adults in America. People who suspect mistreatment in a care facility may find it useful to speak with a Chicago nursing home abuse attorney.