One of the biggest problems with elder abuse is that the elderly may not actually report it. Sometimes, they stay silent out of fear. Other times, they have dementia or other cognitive disorders that make reporting impossible.
Either way, it is important for family members to know that everything may not be fine in a nursing home just because the person has not reported any mistreatment. They need to look for red flags, warning signs and possible symptoms of abuse. A few things to keep an eye out for include:
- The elderly person becomes more withdrawn and doesn't want to interact.
- The elderly person has trouble sleeping.
- The elderly person suffers from confusion and depression in a way that they never did before.
- The elderly person starts acting violently themselves, or they become more and more agitated on a daily basis.
- The person acts strangely; for instance, rocking back and forth is a common sign of physical trauma.
- The elderly person seems sad or upset, even if they cannot explain why they feel that way.
- The elderly person does not want to be around their caregivers.
- The elderly person starts to noticeably lose weight.
- The elderly person has clear physical injuries, such as a black eye, a laceration on their arm or unexplained bruising.
Not all signs are definite signs of abuse. A physical injury could have an innocent explanation. Changes in behavior could come from the aging process.
However, if you see these signs, you know that it is time to dig a bit deeper. Make sure you know what legal steps you can take if you discover evidence of abuse.