Ideally, the nursing home that your parents pick, or the one that you pick for them, will be a safe haven. That’s certainly what is expected and what everyone hopes for.
Unfortunately, it’s not always what you get. CBS News has called nursing home abuse “disturbingly common.” It certainly should not happen at all, but the statistics make it clear that it’s happening far more than many people realize. The reports noted that abuse happened at the hands of both residents and staff members.
So, how can you keep your parents safe? Start by vetting the nursing home incredibly well when you visit. If anything seems off, avoid it. Trust your gut.
It’s also important to visit often to check up on your parent in person. You can see many telltale signs of abuse — bruises, etc — when you sit down with them. Ask about anything that concerns you.
Also, while you’re visiting, go beyond just looking for physical signs. Mood changes often indicate abuse. Do they seem depressed? Do they seem quiet? When an aide comes in to talk to them, do they seem nervous? Even the smallest difference could be an indicator.
Most of all, be proactive. Remember that the elderly cannot always report abuse or may feel ashamed to do so. If you see something that worries you, take action then. Don’t ignore it. Don’t put it off. You may be the only person who can step in when your loved one needs it most.
In cases where abuse has happened, be sure that you are well aware of the legal steps you and your family can take.