There are currently over 3.2 million adults living in nursing homes and long-term care facilities in the United States. While most of these elders are well cared for, many become victims of abuse. In fact, about 1 in 6 nursing home residents may be the victim of abuse or neglect every year. Additionally, about 1 in 3 nursing homes have been cited for violations that had the potential to cause harm to its residents. Sadly, about 10% of all nursing homes have violations that caused actual harm, serious injury, or placed a resident in jeopardy of death. There are many different types of elder abuse including, but not limited to, physical, emotional, and sexual.
If you have a parent, grandparent, or loved one who is currently living in a nursing home or long-term care facility and you are worried about abuse or neglect, there are a couple of signs to look for. According to Zavodnick, Zavodnick, & Lasky, LLC, some of the tell tale signs of nursing home abuse are a sudden decline in health, unexplained bruises or markings on skin, bedsores, and visible cuts on the body. Nursing home abuse is also especially harmful to the patient’s mental health. If your loved one has become reclusive or refuses to speak, eat, or take medications they may be a victim of abuse. Some victims of abuse will not show physical or emotional symptoms, so it is also important to observe the relationship between your loved one and their caregiver at the nursing home facility.
Preventing elder abuse includes three steps: listening to seniors and their caregivers, intervening when you suspect abuse, and educating others about how to recognize and report elder abuse.