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It isn’t always possible to take care of an aging loved one at home, and you may have to put them in a nursing home. These facilities are specifically designed to care for elderly patients around the clock and provide them with a safe environment.

Unfortunately, nursing homes sometimes fall far short of that goal. Seniors are more vulnerable than able-bodied adults and can be susceptible to different kinds of abuse. Even with frequent visits to see them in a nursing home, identifying signs of mistreatment can be difficult if you are not familiar with them.

Signs of abuse

When visiting someone in a nursing facility, check for these signs:

  • Lack of alertness or vigor: It is a fact that age can take away a lot of our spryness. However, if a dramatic or unexpected change occurs in a loved one’s behavior, it could be a sign of trouble. Some unscrupulous caretakers will over-medicate patients to make them easier to manage.
  • Frequent or unexplained injuries: Accidents can happen, but generally residents of a facility should be in good health. Bruises, marks or worse injuries can be signs of abuse from staff and require investigation. There could be a simple explanation, but it is better to ask than to stay silent.
  • Aversion to specific staff members: If someone is mistreating your loved one, they may be trying to avoid their abuser. Listen for any caretakers that they don’t like and why. Observe their body language when they talk about them for other clues about what’s going on when you’re not there.

If you find evidence that there may be abuse taking place, you should document everything you can. Take notes and photographs to corroborate your suspicions. In cases where there is clear abuse occurring, removing your loved one from the nursing home should be your immediate priority.