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Keep your parent safe - know the signs of elder abuse

The time finally came where your relationship with your mother had a role reversal. Now you are the one taking care of her. Unfortunately, you are not totally equipped to see to all of her needs. That is why you decided a nursing home was the best option. You got her moved in a month ago, but you are having doubts that it is a safe environment for her.

Elder abuse is a common occurrence both in and out of nursing homes. In general, it is any kind of abuse that causes harm to an elderly person. There are millions of cases that are unreported each year that include physical, sexual, financial, and emotional abuse as well as neglect and abandonment. There are many factors that contribute to the risk of abuse. Illnesses, such as dementia and isolation are two of the main situations that put elders at risk.

In nursing home settings, residents can feel like they have no choice but to deal with abuse at the hands of staff members. Knowing the signs of abuse can help you determine if the nursing home is mistreating your mother. If you have reason to believe that your elderly parent is a victim of abuse, you can contact a personal injury lawyer in New York for advice. Read further for common signs of elder abuse.

Understaffed

Understaffing is one of the most common causes of nursing home abuse. If the nursing home does not have enough staff, then your mother is at risk of neglect. In general, more than 75 percent of all nursing homes in the U.S. are understaffed. This puts the residents at risk of not receiving the medical attention they require.

Weight loss

If your mother is losing weight, it could be a sign that the staff is not taking care of her dietary needs. They could be starving or underfeeding her, or possibly not feeding her nourishing and healthy meals. Watch for loose clothes that used to fit her properly as a sign of malnourishment.

Bruises and sores

If your mother or other residents show signs of bruising, broken bones, or bed sores, take this as an indicator that things are not right at the nursing home. These are all signs of serious neglect and physical abuse. Visiting your mother on a routine basis will help you detect these types of injuries.

Overmedicating

It is not uncommon for abusive nursing home staff to overmedicate residents. They do this to keep the patients under control, so that they do not cause "trouble." If your mother is showing signs of dizziness, depression, or seems not altogether there, it could be a sign that the staff is giving her antipsychotic drugs.

Fear of speaking

If your mother is refusing to speak or seems afraid to speak, especially in front of the staff, take this as a sign that she is afraid. She could be suffering physical or emotional abuse at the hands of staff when no one else is present. It is possible that a staff member has threatened her with retaliation if she complains.

If you suspect that your elderly parent is the victim of abuse in a nursing facility, do not hesitate. Remove her from the nursing home immediately. Once she is in a safe environment, contact a local New York attorney with personal injury experience to discuss your case. 

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