Meta: Do you suspect your facility bound elderly loved one isn’t receiving the care they need? Take a look at the six common areas of nursing home neglect.

There comes a time in everyone’s life when we have to take care of the people who raised us, whether they are our parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, or even a neighborhood friend who is absent of any living family. One of the cruelest truths in life is, as we age and acquire wisdom, our bodies can’t function well and put it all to use.

Why a Nursing Home?

Nursing Home

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While we would all love to keep our loved ones under our roof for the duration of their lives, sometimes this isn’t possible. Your mother could be suffering from dementia and need round the clock care that you are unable to provide without help. The cost of having a professional residing in your home to do the work can cost $125 a day, which is a lot for the average person.

Is Neglect Common?

Neglect

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When you research the subject the statistic will only make you sad. As it turns out, reports of elder abuse reach over two million cases annually. That means one of ten people in their Golden Years experiences a life that is anything but easy. To top it off, a good portion of elder abuse doesn’t get reported at all, which is frightening.

When we come into the world as children, we are fragile, so we are protected if we are fortunate. As we age, our abilities, or lack thereof, make it difficult to live without help. There is no greater respect to show your loved one than to keep them safe from harm. If you suspect your loved one might be experiencing neglect in their nursing home, keep reading.

Signs Of Neglect

We have narrowed the general term “nursing home neglect” down to six categories where your parent, sibling, spouse, or anyone you care about, might be the subject of abuse or overlooked.

Medical

Medical

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When your elder or disabled loved one is forced to live in a facility like a nursing home, it is pretty safe to assume their health isn’t holding up well. Retirement facilities of this type are a final resting place so you might be dealing with cancer or another ailment that impacts the immunity.

Other issues that can affect people who live in nursing homes deal with include diabetes, infections, problems moving around, abrasions, bruises, and cognitive problems. Everyone in a nursing home needs medical attention regularly.

Some signs that your loved one isn’t receiving the medical attention they need in the home you placed them include the following.

  • Worsening of illnesses
  • Sores that will not heal
  • Bedsore from not being turned over
  • Broken bones
  • Fractures
  • Rashes
  • Bruises

Medical neglect doesn’t only mean that they aren’t given their medications promptly. They might not be getting them at all. Or, they may be getting the wrong meds or are ignored when they complain about pain or problem. Have you ever noticed how easily people brush the elderly off when they complain?

Concerns that fall under this category can lead to problems that are severe and can even lead to death.

Basic Needs

Food

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Some people love material object;, others do just fine without them. No matter if you are a minimalist or bask in extravagance, all humans on this earth have basic needs. As fellow humans, we feel, it is our responsibility to ensure that all humans receive the necessary supplies to remain alive.

Food, water, and shelter are considered the bare bones of needs that all humans require. When it comes to our loved ones, the thought of them going through a moment without access to these and much more is upsetting. We don’t just want their needs met; we insist that they get what they want in addition to the basics.

Some signs that your loved one isn’t getting the three core needs required to exist are not hard to spot.

Dehydration

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When your body doesn’t obtain adequate amounts of water intake, then a person suffers from dehydration, which can be quite dangerous. Signs of dehydration include the following.

  • Increase in thirst
  • Dryness of the mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Low urine production
  • Dark colored urine
  • Dizziness
  • Bruises

More serious symptoms include:

  • Fast heartbeat
  • Increased breathing
  • Confusion
  • Lightheaded
  • Unconsciousness

Medical neglect doesn’t only mean that they aren’t given their medications promptly. They might not be getting them at all. Or, they may be getting the wrong meds or are ignored when they complain about pain or problem. Have you ever noticed how easily people brush the elderly off when they complain?

Concerns that fall under this category can lead to problems that are severe and can even lead to death.

Complications From Dehydration

Dehydration is nothing to ignore. If prolonged, your loved one could suffer some terrible health setbacks like kidney failure, coma, and shock. If your loved one is experiencing any of these bring to the attention of someone immediately.

Weight Loss

If you find that your loved one is dropping a lot of weight and they aren’t ill, then it is possible they aren’t getting adequate nutrition. Some older people have a hard time feeding themselves and require help.

Personal Hygiene

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Basic needs, at their core, are essential of survival, but what about beyond that? Your father might be getting the food and water he needs. But if his clothes have old food stains on them and his hair is greasy, then the attendants at the facility aren’t taking care of his hygienic health.

Keeping clean is imperative to our overall health, and people who cannot do it for themselves are at the mercy of others. Here is a list of personal hygiene practices your loved one should be receiving from the stage and the facility.

Showers/Baths

People should bath every day, which isn’t always possible for someone in a nursing home. It depends on their level of mobility. If they can’t get to a bath, then they should be sponged down regularly, preferably daily.

Brushing Teeth

Ideally, we should brush and floss our teeth every day. But this can be difficult for the same reasons bathing is so hard. Even if the resident doesn’t have their teeth, they need to be taken out and soaked overnight. Dentures need care just like real teeth.

Hair Washing

While baldness is a trend for many elderly residents in homes, there are a lot of geriatric folks who have a full head of hair. It is probably white and beautiful if it’s kept clean and trimmed regularly. At the least, we should shampoo our hair once a week. Greasy strands and a foul odor are signs of unwashed hair.

Toilet Cleanliness

Some residents in homes can’t even make it out of their bed. My grandmother lingered for weeks in a catatonic state and never left her bed. While her bowel movements and urine production were probably low, she had a pad underneath her for these types of moments. Some places still use a bedpan, but pads are more common these days.

It might sound horrific, but it isn’t unheard of for elderly patients to sit in their excrement for hours before anyone comes to clean them. It seems unbelievable, but it truly isn’t.

Clothes

Imagine visiting your parent at the nursing home to find food or blood stains on their clothes.  Upon closer inspection, you find soil in their undergarments. Even if the elderly are physically able to change their clothes, it doesn’t mean they will remember to perform this simple task.

Staff is there to assist them in these times of need.

Social

Humans are a communal species. Unless we are overly shy and introverted, most people in the world like to share their time with other people. When humans get together, they laugh, cry, share stories, and understand part of our purpose, which is to be one part of a broader community.

A lack of social contact can have a profound effect on their mental and physical health and well being. It is especially vital that staff introduce nursing home to regularly scheduled social interactions. Seniors are some of the loneliest people on the planet. Here are some of the factors that led to this statistic.

  • Increase in thirst
  • Dryness of the mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Low urine production
  • Dark colored urine
  • Dizziness
  • Bruises

Loneliness leads to depression, which has health risks of its own. People suffering from depression can experience the following.

  • Physical pain
  • Memory trouble
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes in personality like gloominess and quick agitation
  • Lack of wanting to socialize
  • Thoughts of suicide or death

Your loved one should be included in social situations daily when living in a home, and it is the responsibility of the staff to ensure they are aware and attend. If they are being difficult or refuse to join in, they should be keeping our aware of the situation.

Physical

No one wants to imagine their family member being beaten or pushed around by an attendant, but it does happen. The fact is, we can’t be in that nursing home every waking moment because, if we could, we wouldn’t have needed a home in the first place. These are the signs of physical abuse.

  • Bruises
  • Bites
  • Cuts
  • Abrasions
  • Broken or fractured bones
  • Unexplained injuries

Behavioral differences in your loved one might appear as well, which include

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Agitation
  • Sleeping issues
  • Withdrawn
  • Nightmares
  • Eating disorders
  • Self-harm

Your loved one should be included in social situations daily when living in a home, and it is the responsibility of the staff to ensure they are aware and attend. If they are being difficult or refuse to join in, they should be keeping our aware of the situation.

Emotional

Emotional abuse is as impactful as physical. Bullying and verbal put-downs are examples. Ways your loved one might be an emotional victim could be at the hands of an employee at the home or another resident.

Signs of emotional abuse include

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Shame
  • Moodiness
  • Aches and pains
  • Withdrawn behavior
  • Insomnia
  • Can’t maintain a friendly relationship with the staff
  • Nightmares

Behavioral differences in your loved one might appear as well, which include

Both physical and emotional abuses are difficult to pin down because you need proof to secure your suspicions. When you compare asking the nurse if she forgot to give your mother the water pill (medical neglect) to whether or not she has slapped her, it's easy to see the difficulty in the latter.

Reasons Why There Is Neglect

Neglect might not be the result of a bad or evil nurse or employee of the home but that they are understaffed. While we might think there is round the clock service at the nursing home, there is no way to be sure unless you check. Recent surveys have shown that the reported caretakers in nursing homes are not what they seem..

Ways to Prevent Neglect

There are two ways you can prevent your loved one from being neglected in their nursing home.

Get Involved

Schedule regular visits and pop in sometimes when it’s unexpected. Talk to the staff. Get to know their names. Check what medications they are supposed to be taking and don’t be afraid to make sure to speak up on their behalf.

I would much rather be an annoying daughter to the staff then have anyone I care about suffer from neglect.

Listen To Them

I hate to break it to you, but if your loved one is suffering from neglect, then they might be trying to tell you. I admit that all people are not forward and bold, and some elderly might fear repercussions from a bully or negligent staff member, but you need to ask. Let them know that you will protect them if they tell the truth. Odds are, they will trust in you and tell you everything.

Final Thoughts

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If your loved one has confided in you, get the guilty party taken off their schedule. Work closely with the facility to get to the bottom of the neglect or abuse and make sure other residents aren’t suffering as well. You can contact a lawyer and even move them to a safe place.

Nursing home residents pay hundreds of dollars a day to live in a home and receive care. Some take a large percentage of the resident’s annual income and issues an allowance. Places like this are not cheap, so make sure your loved ones are getting the best treatment they can. They aren’t only paying for it with their money, but with their self-respect, which comes at a high price.

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