When your elderly family member needs full-time assistance, you expect him or her to receive care, not harm. Yet, harm is the reality for many seniors in nursing homes and other types of adult care facilities, reveals the National Council on Aging.
You may already be aware of the health problems that can occur from understaffing, medical malpractice, violence and the over-prescription of drugs. Have you ever considered these possible forms of elderly abuse?
1. Digital privacy violations
This is the age of social media, where people post more information than is necessary. Some people use such sites to make fun of others, either directly or indirectly through photos and memes. Other users have little understanding of or concern about the privacy of posts and may share photos, stories and personal information of patients thinking that it is a safe place to vent about work. The internet is not a safe place. Information travels quickly and is hard to permanently erase. Once the damage is done, it is done. Watch out for employees snapping pictures on their phones. Always make sure your loved one gives consent before the facility uses photos, stories and names in newsletters, advertisements and online content.
2. Sexual assault
You may not think you have to worry about sexual crimes with seniors, but the opposite is true. Elderly nursing home patients are extremely vulnerable due to their physical and mental conditions. They can be easy targets for sexual predators. Signs of sexual abuse include:
- Injury to the pelvic area, thighs or private parts
- Bloody or torn undergarments
- Panic attacks
- Unusual sexual behavior
- Social withdrawal
Remember that family members can also be responsible, so watch out for your loved one with all people involved in his or her care.
3. Third-party abuse
Does the nursing home offer excursions or transport to the hospital through a third party? Even if the nursing home staff are not behind the abuse, they are accountable for the companies they contract with. You can still hold the facility legally responsible for any accidents, injuries or negligence.