Preventing Elder Abuse
Working With a Loved One to Ensure They Receive the Proper Care
As much as we hate it, there comes a time when our parents or grandparents are no longer able to take care of themselves. This is a dangerous situation that must be remedied. For some the only available choice is to locate an assisted living community or a nursing home where trained professionals can provide the care that they require.
On the surface it looks like a perfect situation, but care facilities are not without their potential problems. For every facility that provides stellar medical and physical support while creating an emotionally supportive environment, there is one that is run in a way that offers low quality care that can cause significant physical, mental, financial, and medical damage. Therefore, it is vital that you and your loved one choose a facility carefully and continually communicate about the care that he or she is receiving.
Working With Your Loved One
While visiting your relative is a matter of love and family loyalty, it is also a matter of security. By visiting at least once or twice a week, you can assure that your family member is receiving proper care. My grandmother is in a nursing home. When we were choosing a facility, I told her that she could tell me any problems that she had when I visited. I try to stop by at least three times a week to make sure she is physically and emotionally cared for. Here are some questions I sometimes ask when I visit:
- Do any of the employees or other residents make you uncomfortable?
- How are you feeling?
- Do you feel like you need more care than you receive?
- Did you ever have to wait a long period of time for help?
When Your Loved One Can’t Report
Unfortunately not all family members can report if they have been neglected or abused. Family members who have memory problems, the inability to talk, or the inability to communicate at all means that they will not be able to report problems. This makes it vital that you visit regularly. When you visit you will need to take cues from your relative to ensure that they are safe. Here are some signs that your relative may not be receiving the proper care:
- Bruises, bed sores, and weight loss are all signs of physical abuse or neglect.
- Significant negative change in emotional state could be a sign of emotional abuse. You should also listen to how the employees talk to the other residents. If you hear someone being verbally abused—this ranges from disparaging comments to orders—than you should assume that your relative is in danger of being verbally abused if they have not already been.
- Missing money or items could be a sign of theft.
As much as I wish it, I cannot provide the level of care that my grandmother requires. All I can do is work with her and observe her behavior to assure that she is receiving the care she was promised. And if I get the pleasure of her company while doing it—well that’s just a perk.
Guest Post by Alan Brady
Alan Brady loves visiting his grandmother and losing at Scrabble because it means her mind is just as sharp as ever. He fills his time writing about how nursing home abuse attorneys can help families whose relatives have been neglected find justice.