There are various forms of elder abuse, and some are more challenging to spot than others. Older people in nursing homes are particularly vulnerable to abuse for a few reasons:
- Isolation: They may not see anyone outside the care facility for weeks at a time, perhaps more if their family lives far away. It reduces the opportunities for someone else to discover the abuse.
- Communication difficulties: A mental illness may prevent an elder person from communicating effectively. Even if they can tell someone, they might not be believed.
Sadly, elder abuse happens frequently in nursing homes. It can take various forms:
- Physical: Hitting, slapping, pinching, kicking or handling roughly are all forms of abuse.
- Sexual: An older person may be incapable of stopping an abuser and too ashamed to tell anyone.
- Financial: If someone lives with dementia, they may struggle to recognize their family, let alone recall how much money they have. A worker could take advantage of this, persuading them to write checks or transfer money out of their account, knowing the older person will not recall it.
- Emotional: This encompasses verbal abuse and actions designed to make someone feel alone or unloved. An abuser may be able to do so unnoticed for months, especially if they wait until they are alone with the person to abuse them.
- Neglect: If someone is in a care home, it is because they are unable to meet their needs alone. They are dependent upon the staff.
If your parent is in a nursing home, you may be unable to visit them as frequently as you wish. Technology can be a big help. You can use online banking to keep an eye on your parent’s finances and make sure there is no abnormal activity. Video conferencing allows you to check how they look and act.
If you believe someone is abusing your parent in their nursing home, you should inform the management. You may also want to consult an attorney to investigate your legal options.