Sometimes, seeking full-time care is the best thing for your loved ones. Scarily, though, abuse against residents in nursing homes is all too prevalent. While you can’t always be present, there things you can do to help lessen the possibility of abuse.
The Nursing Home Abuse Center highlights ways that you can help protect your aging loved ones from abuse. Here are a few steps that you can take as your loved one adjusts to living with care:
- Be careful when choosing a facility or caregiver – Research potential nursing homes thoroughly and look for any risk factors. If you can, visit the facility in person and have conversations with staff. Look for policies that help reduce the risk of abuse, like regular training for employees, staff background checks, surveillance systems, frequent visits from social workers and volunteers and consistent care procedures.
- Get to know the care staff – When you visit your loved one, take a little time to get to know the staff that works with them. This can give you a chance to get a feel for the relationships present and notice any red flags. Reaching out to and supporting care givers can also help reduce the stress of caring for an elderly patient, which increases the risk of abuse.
- Check in and visit often – Consistently engaging with your loved one can help them know that they are not alone. Transitioning to being cared for can be frustrating and isolating, so make sure they know that they are loved. This can help reduce their risk of abuse by letting them know that they have support and can speak up for themselves if necessary.
- Keep you loved one engaged in community – Loneliness and isolation increase a senior’s risk of abuse. Encourage your loved one to engage with others in their nursing home and if possible, help them visit their community outside of the facility as well. Take advantage of local resources aimed towards keeping seniors involved.
- Keep them active – Decreasing physical health makes people more vulnerable to abuse. Higher activity levels can help keep your loved one healthier.
- Pay attention and don’t let things slide – When you visit your loved one, pay attention to the little things. Watch how the staff interacts with patients and visitors, check for any injuries like bruising or bed sores and note the hygiene levels. If you notice anything that seems suspicious, immediately investigate and alert the nursing home managing staff.
While there is no way to completely prevent nursing home abuse, there are ways to help decrease the risks. If you suspect that your loved one is becoming the victim of abuse, remove them from the situation and alert the authorities at once.