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Aventura Nursing Home Abuse Blog

Frailty impacts seniors in many ways

Do you ever feel like your elderly loved one -- an aging parent, perhaps -- is simply more frail than they used to be? You can't put your finger on a specific issue or a disorder, but you know what you see. They appear frail and at a high risk for injury. You worry about things that didn't seem like a big deal before, such as a simple fall in the kitchen.

You're not alone, and you're not wrong. Scientists who studied this issue found that frailty is a real issue for the elderly, and it happens because of multiple "systems failures." They said that these had a bigger impact than age, disease or other specific issues.

How to protect your parent in a nursing home

Putting your aging parent in a nursing home can cause you grief and worry, and for good reason, too. Abuse and neglect are common in these facilities. According to the Office for Victims of Crime, the top complaint was for physical abuse from staff, with physical or sexual abuse from other residents coming in second.

When you have no other option but nursing home placement, how can you protect your loved one from such horrors? The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care shares some proactive steps you can take to ensure the well-being of your mom or dad.

Nursing homes fail to report all instance of potential abuse

As you may suspect, the reality of nursing home abuse is that abuse and neglect are often underreported in nursing homes. Patients may fear retaliation, people may not know that their loved ones are suffering and even the staff may attempt to cover up wrongdoing.

Nursing facilities reportedly failed to disclose thousands of serious cases of potential abuse and neglect of seniors in their care, even though it's a requirement for the facilities to report these instances when they involve seniors on Medicare, according to a watchdog report. The Health and Human Services inspector general's office released a statement based on its auditors' findings. They claim there were situations so serious that patients had to be rushed from the nursing facility to the emergency room, yet many were not reported as required by law. Approximately 6,200 patients were affected, according to the estimates.

Socialization is critical for the elderly

People often view socialization in an assisted living center as just a minor perk. The elderly person gets fundamental assistance with daily tasks, medical needs and things of this nature, and the fact that they get to be around workers and other seniors is just a minor upside.

It's a dangerous way to look at it because it really undersells how critical socialization is to an individual's well-being, regardless of age. The truth is that socialization can have a massive impact on an elderly person's life. It can help prevent depression and isolation, it allows them to adjust to this new time in their life and it gives them something to look forward to in the center. The overall mental and emotional toll of having to move out of a family home and into an assisted living center is largely reduced by this new chance to be social with a community of people in similar situations.

Bedsores: Among the worst injuries in nursing homes

Bedsores, which are ulcers created by pressure or friction, may not seem too serious to those who know little about them. After all, most ulcers that develop on the body are small and cause few issues.

That's not the case for bedsores, though. Bedsores develop when a patient doesn't move, and the body part can't get new, oxygenated blood. Without nourishment, that part of the body begins to die.

Ageism and elder neglect

When we think about age discrimination and ageism, we often equate it with the workplace. It's the older worker who gets fired right before retirement to make room for the younger, cheaper worker. It's the person in their 50s or 60s who can't get a job, despite their experience.

However, the truth is that ageism is something that is a societal issue. It's not just the workplace. It can impact all areas of life.

Finding long-term care for a parent with Alzheimer's

Having a parent with Alzheimer's or another type of dementia can be difficult. All you really want is the best for your mom and dad, and you will do anything to make that happen. Sometimes, it is necessary to consider long-term care. 

People with dementia can be unpredictable and require care around-the-clock. You want to ensure that the facility you choose is the right one. Here are some of your options and tips for choosing the right place for your parent.

Know the signs of abuse and reach out if they're present

Elder abuse is a usually a willful act where someone is trying to harm your loved one. Whether that's a caregiver or a doctor, if you suspect or learn that someone has hurt someone you love, it is hurtful to you, too.

There are many signs of abuse that you can spot. If you see them early enough, you may be able to prevent any serious injuries from taking place.

4 tips to help avoid financial abuse

The elderly are fairly vulnerable when they are getting assistance from caregivers. They depend on these people. The unfortunate reality is that caregivers may attempt to take advantage of the situation for their own financial gain. It's important to know what signs to look for and what scams tend to target the elderly.

At the same time, you want to know what steps you and your family can take in advance to prevent this type of abuse. Here are four important ones:

  • Talk about expenses openly. Make sure that you know how much money should be spent on everything.
  • Talk about overall wealth and assets, as well. It should never be a secret. You need to know what to expect so that you can see if anything looks out of place.
  • Include the entire family when talking about things like financial powers of attorney. The more people who have a voice, the lower the chances that anyone can infringe on your loved one's rights. This also ensures that your whole family knows what is going on and what to watch out for.
  • Whenever possible, avoid using cash. It's the easiest to steal and the hardest to trace. Ideally, your loved one should never have cash on them, and you should have electronic records of every single transaction.
  • Plan ahead for everything. Learn about the care they need, what it costs, who gets paid and all of the little details. Leave nothing up to chance and make sure that money can never go overlooked.

Know neglect, so you can stop it

To understand elder neglect, you need to know what it is. Neglect is not usually intentional, but it can be. It's a form of mistreatment that usually results from disregard for the needs of the elderly or because of carelessness. Elders who face neglect could be put into life-threatening situations as a result of not receiving the care they need.

Adult Protective Services receives many reports of neglect, and they should be informed of any case that involves your loved one as well. Some common kinds of abuse that are reported include:

  • Physical neglect
  • Abandonment
  • Financial neglect
  • Emotional neglect
  • Self-neglect
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