Many adults face the difficult decision of placing their elderly parents in a nursing home. Most older adults in nursing homes will get the help and care they need from caring staff. Unfortunately, in other cases, nursing home residents may suffer abuse from employees whose job is to help and not hurt.
This can be a difficult topic to discuss, but we all must know the signs of elder abuse so that we can properly address it when we see it happening.
What are the different types of abuse?
Elder abuse is a term that refers to any type of harm inflicted upon an older adult. The different types of abuse include:
- Physical abuse – violence that results in injury or pain, such as hitting or pinching
- Emotional abuse – nonphysical behavior that causes mental anguish or distress
- Sexual abuse – nonconsensual sexual contact. It’s important to note that someone with diminished mental capacity may be incapable of giving consent.
- Financial abuse – exploitation or fraud that results in economic harm
- Neglect – intentional or unintentional abandonment that leads to physical or emotional harm
An older adult with dementia may not be able to tell you they are being abused; however, several signs may indicate nursing home abuse is occurring, such as:
- Sudden changes in their behavior, such as withdrawn behavior or depression
- Bruises or other injuries on their body
- They seem scared or anxious
If you suspect that your parent or grandparent is the victim of abuse, you should immediately contact the nursing home administrator. You may also want to contact an attorney with experience in these matters. In many cases, the nursing home is liable for the abuse suffered by residents. Discussing your concerns with someone who understands elder law and elder abuse claims will help you decide if you should pursue a personal injury lawsuit.
To learn more, please see our New Mexico Elder Abuse FAQ.