If or when the time comes that you have to put a family member into a nursing home or assisted living facility, your upmost concern is likely that of safety. You want to make sure that your family member is well taken care of, safe, and happy. When you’re deciding on a nursing home or assisted living facility, it’s important that you do your research. While you might not want to think about it, elder abuse is quite common— especially in nursing homes. So, taking that extra time to select a quality facility can make all the difference in the world.

Elder Abuse: Knowing The Signs and Reporting an Incident

How do you characterize elder abuse?

Elder abuse can happen in a number of different ways. From sexual abuse, physical, financial, emotional, isolation; But, what makes it so difficult to diagnose is that it can come from anywhere. Not to mention, often, those family members who are being put into a nursing home aren’t able to fend for themselves. So, this makes them incredibly susceptible to abuse in many forms.

Who is doing it?

Ultimately, any member of the family, staff, or visiting parties can be the perpetrator. In almost 60% of elder abuse cases, a family member is the abuser. It could be their own children, spouses— anyone. So, you have to make sure you’re watching for the warning signs.

But, what are the warning signs?

The warning signs can be anything from bedsores, bruises, sudden weight loss, depression, frequent arguments with a caretaker, detachment from reality, lack of speaking… ultimately, any behavior that is outside that person’s norm can be a sign of elder abuse. The key is to watch for those changes and keep an open line of communication with the person. If you’re their designated caretaker, you likely know them better than anyone else. Honor that by picking up on those nonverbal and verbal cues.

What can I do if I find out, or suspect, this is happening?

If you’re positive of the abuse, call law enforcement. Abuse in any form is punishable by law, no matter who’s doing it. But, if you don’t know for sure— contact Adult Protective Services. There are plenty of online forums, help networks, and law enforcement that will have your back in the event of an issue. You don’t have to go at this alone. If you see something, say something. We wish you luck as you fight for the rights of those who cannot do so themselves.