As the country’s population continues to age, countless families in New Mexico will face the difficult decision of whether a loved one ought to move into a nursing home. While the lion’s share of such facilities provide caring, competent services to their residents, there are unfortunately times when abuse and neglect do occur.
Common types of nursing home elder abuse
Though nobody wants to contemplate the notion that their elderly loved one has been or continues to be subjected to improper treatment at the hands of those responsible for their care, such situations are indeed known to happen. Some of the most common types of elder abuse and neglect in nursing homes include:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual misconduct
- Emotional abuse
- Neglect of medical or hygienic needs
- Financial exploitation
- Verbal abuse
While some of the above forms of mistreatment are relatively easy to spot, such as physical abuse or neglect of personal care needs, others are more subtle and require greater diligence on the part of family members to notice in a timely fashion.
Knowing when to intervene
In situations of suspected mental or emotional abuse, family members should remain alert for changes in their loved one’s level and type of communication, their mood, their interest in engaging in hobbies and the like. Social withdrawal is often a manifestation of nursing home mistreatment, and it can be a helpful signal that assistance in pursuing accountability from those responsible is required.
Financial exploitation is also sometimes less obvious than physical abuse, but it can be detected by conducting routine reviews of bank statements and investment documents, watching for unusual asset transfers, and keeping tabs on tangible valuables typically in the elderly individual’s possession.
Admitting that a facility entrusted with the care of an aging loved one has fallen far short of its obligations is never easy to do, but the sooner the problem is identified and addressed, the more rapidly the affected elder can receive the compassionate care they deserve.