Identifying Signs of Abusive Caregivers in Nursing Homes, Assisted-Living Facilities, and at the Homes of Seniors
When we talk about nursing home negligence and abuse, we are referring not only to elder abuse that occurs in a skilled nursing facility, but also to abuse that happens in assisted-living facilities, and even at the homes of seniors who have live-in or visiting caregivers.
While elder neglect and nursing home malpractice can have many different signs and symptoms—as well as many different causes, from understaffed facilities to inattentive staff members—it is especially important to be able to spot the signs of an abusive caregiver or nursing home negligence, according to a recent article in NorthJersey.com. Given that elder abuse can take so many different forms, family members might not be on the lookout for symptoms of nursing home malpractice or abuse, especially when the caregiver does not seem to fit certain stereotypes we tend to carry about abusers. If you suspect a loved one may have experienced elder abuse or injury, contact a nursing home abuse lawyer to discuss your options.
However, many different types of people can commit elder abuse, and it is often some of the individuals you would least expect who end up being responsible for the physical abuse, emotional abuse, and financial abuse of an elderly person in New Jersey or elsewhere in the country. Only about one out of every 14 cases of nursing home negligence or elder abuse is reported, according to a study conducted by the National Research Council. In other words, elder abuse and nursing home malpractice often go unreported. As such it is often up to friends, family members, and neighbors to identify and report abuse to authorities first, then contact a nursing home abuse attorney when it is happening.
Recognizing Signs of Nursing Home Malpractice and an Abusive Caregiver
If you have an elderly loved one in a nursing home or living at home with the help of a caregiver, general signs of abuse by the caregiver tend to include one or more of the following:
- Signs of emotional disturbance in the patient, including but not limited to a senior being depressed, confused, withdrawn, agitated, violent, or fearful;
- Signs of a senior’s change in activity, such as difficulty sleeping, ceasing to participate in activities the person previously enjoyed and becoming more isolated from friends or family members;
- Signs of physical abuse in the senior, such as weight loss that is unexplained by other medical reasons, poor hygiene, bed sores or pressure ulcers, unexplained bruises or burns, and any other signs of physical trauma;
- Indications that the caregiver is taking financial advantage of the senior, such as the loss of valuable items in the home or room, bills that are not being paid, or checks that seem to have been signed by the caregiver;
- Signs that the caregiver is attempting to isolate the senior socially, such as refusing to let certain friends or family members see the senior;
- Signs that the caregiver is engaging in harmful behavior toward the senior, such as refusing to show affection for the patient, behaving indifferently or even aggressively toward the patient, or making comments about the senior being a burden;
- Signs that the caregiver has become financially dependent upon the senior; and/or
- Caregiver with a history of substance abuse, mental illness, or domestic violence.
Elder abuse and nursing home negligence happen too often. If something seems off with your elderly loved one, you should discuss your concerns with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer.