It is said that these days Americans are living longer than ever before. Today, adult children have different challenges than their parents did. With seniors living well into their 80s, 90s, and beyond, sons and daughters are doing everything they can to help their elderly parents remain independent. From buying them homes without second stories, to getting them gym memberships, to buying them vitamins and taking them along on family vacations, many Baby Boomers are doing the best they can to help their parents live long, healthy, carefree lives.
Unfortunately, millions of elderly parents eventually suffer from dementia. Or, as they reach an advanced age, they begin to require round-the-clock assistance with everything from taking care of their home to cooking to bathing, and everything in between. When it becomes too much, the family decides to place their elderly loved one in a nursing home. Often, this is a very hard decision for the family to make.
What is Happening Behind Closed Doors?
While some nursing homes are great facilities that hire caring staff, too many of them fail to put the residents’ needs first. On the outside, they may look nice, but behind closed doors, the nursing home, long-term care or assisted living facility is understaffed and the people that do work there are poorly trained and underpaid. In effect, abuse occurs.
Why does this happen? Because, too many nursing homes are more concerned about their bottom line than the wellbeing of their residents. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), “Experts have reported that knowledge about elder abuse lags as much as two decades behind the fields of child abuse and domestic violence.”
The NCEA goes on to say that elder abuse is underreported. “The New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study found that for every case known to programs and agencies, 24 were unknown,” reported the NCEA.
While nursing home abuse can involve sexual abuse, physical abuse, psychological abuse, and financial exploitation, for the purposes of this post, we want to help you identify the “behavioral signs” of elder abuse. This way, if you don’t “see” any physical signs, you know what to look for behaviorally.
Behavioral Signs of Elder Abuse
- A sudden change in mood or personality
- Your loved one complains of abuse
- Your loved one is afraid of you leaving
- Your loved one is afraid to be alone
- Your loved one becomes afraid of movement
- Your loved one becomes depressed
- Your loved one no longer smiles or laughs
- Your loved one seems like an entirely different person
Typically, what causes nursing home abuse is inadequate training and staffing, insufficient employee background checks, and a high staff turnover. All of these can be traced to upper-management, which is ultimately responsible for these issues.
If you suspect your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse, please contact our firm to schedule a consultation with a West Palm Beach injury attorney who can help.