In an ideal world, nursing homes would serve as safe havens for senior citizens where they have an opportunity to live out the rest of their lives in dignity. However, recent statistics show that a number of older people living in nursing homes are suffering physical, sexual, emotional and even financial abuse in the hands of staff members and others who have access to them in these facilities.
What’s worse, nursing home residents often suffer serious injuries as a result of being neglected or not receiving quality care at these facilities. If you have entrusted the care of a loved one to a nursing home or assisted living facility, it is important that you pay close attention to how they are being treated and look out for red flags that might alert you to the fact that they are being mistreated or abused at the facility.
Types of Elder Abuse
There is the potential for a number of different types of abuse in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Here are the most common types of abuse sustained by nursing home residents:
Physical abuse: It is hard to believe that a frail, elderly person might actually be abused physically by anyone. But, it is an established fact that a number of Pennsylvania’s nursing homes are understaffed. The nursing staff at these facilities tends to be overworked and underpaid. Some end up taking out their frustrations on residents. Look out for signs such as bruises or burn marks that might indicate your loved one is suffering from physical abuse.
Sexual abuse: This is an extremely serious form of abuse in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Especially at risk are disabled individuals or elderly residents suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s. If your loved one’s behavior suddenly changes or if he or she becomes withdrawn or violent, it may be a sign that something is wrong. If your loved one has been sexually abused, it is crucial that you report the incidents to local law enforcement immediately because it is a criminal matter.
Emotional abuse: There are have been extremely disturbing reports of senior citizens being mocked and humiliated by nursing home staff who then post these disgusting videos on social media. Some of the symptoms of emotional abuse may include changes in behavior.
Financial abuse: When staff members or others who have access to your loved one steal their personal property or steal their private information to siphon money from their bank accounts or credit cards, that amounts to financial abuse and it is criminal activity. If your loved one takes sudden actions such as signing a power of attorney or modifying a will or deed, that is a huge red flag that could indicate financial abuse.
What Actions Can You Take?
If you find out that your loved one is suffering from abuse in a nursing home or assisted living facility, it is important to file a complaint with the facility’s administrators right away. If you have evidence of abuse such as financial documents or surveillance video footage, make sure that evidence is preserved right away. Contact local law enforcement if you suspect criminal activity such as sexual assault or theft. Get in touch with an experienced Pennsylvania nursing home elder abuse lawyer who will help protect your loved one’s rights and help you hold the facility and its administrators accountable for their wrongdoing.