It is important to check in as frequently as you can with your aging loved ones after they move into a nursing home. They likely appreciate your company, and you can also see how the facility and staff are treating your loved one. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and neglect happen more often than most people realize, and you undoubtedly want to protect your loved one from harm.
Following are some important things to keep in mind.
Nursing home patients are sometimes unable or unwilling to express what is happening to them
Because of the nature of certain types of abuse, it can be incredibly difficult for someone in their 70s, 80s or 90s to admit that their strength and mobility have diminished to the point where they cannot stop someone from harming them. They may also feel ashamed and embarrassed. In some cases, abused individuals try to pretend the abuse never happened.
In other cases, efforts are made to conceal bruises, burns, sores and other signs of abuse. Sometimes the victim tries to conceal signs of abuse, and sometimes the abuser does. Keep in mind that physical abusers are also known to manipulate their victims psychologically and convince them not to tell anyone about what happens.
If you suspect that your loved one is being abused or neglected in a care facility, it is best to seek help investigating whether anything inappropriate occurred. You can then look at legal options if you find evidence of wrongdoing.
For more on these matters, please see our Elder Abuse FAQ.