It’s hard for an adult child to accept that their parent’s health is declining. The person who cared for you can no longer take care of themselves. However, a time may come when living alone may pose a significant risk to your parent, and you can no longer ignore the fact that they need 24-hour care.
Once they are in a nursing home, you expect the staff to provide for your parent’s daily needs with love and care. While most nursing homes provide excellent care, some don’t.
Recognizing the signs of nursing home negligence
New Mexico’s nursing homes are supposed to be safe havens for the 5,200 people who live in them—unfortunately, the state rates second in the nation when it comes to deficiencies in providing care.
Nursing home residents with cognitive decline may be unable to express their concerns. Therefore, it’s up to their loved ones to advocate on their behalf. The first step is being able to recognize the signs. Here are some key indicators that an elderly person is being neglected:
- Unwashed hair and body
- Wearing dirty clothes
- Dirt or fecal material under the fingernails
- Sudden weight loss
- Withdrawn or depressed mood
- Frequent infections or illnesses
- Unexplained bruises, cuts or fractures
- Frequent falls
The state requires staffing levels so nurses and nurse aides can provide at least 2.5 hours of care to each resident daily. However, that is the bare minimum, and many residents require heavy care.
If you suspect that your loved one is being neglected, it’s crucial to act quickly. Document your observations and discuss your concerns with the nursing home administrator. If the situation doesn’t improve or the administrator ignores your concerns, it may be necessary to initiate legal action. Just as they once protected you, your parents now need you to protect them.