Nursing home abuse isn't always obvious. Know the signs.

Your loved one needs someone to care for them, and you put them in a nursing home with the expectation that they'll get proper care and assistance every single day. You want them to be safe, healthy and happy. It's what you expect and what they deserve.

However, you're well aware that your loved one is very vulnerable. Due to their age and possible physical or mental troubles, the care workers are in a position of power. Hopefully, they respect this and use their position to make your loved one's life better. But you know that abuse and neglect do happen.

One key thing to remember here is that the signs of abuse aren't always obvious. It's not always something like $100 missing from a purse or a black eye. The signs can be far more subtle, and you need to know what to look for.

Emotional changes

One common sign is an emotional change. The person still appears healthy and fit, but they act differently. They don't seem like themselves anymore. They may be sad or fearful. You may even feel like you can't quite put your finger on it, but you just know that something is wrong.

Beyond that, they act especially off when specific workers come near them. Someone comes in to help them shower or bring them a meal and suddenly they seem reclusive and scared. That could mean abuse is taking place when you're not around.

Physical changes

Abuse can also lead to physical changes, such as weight loss. Denying someone food is a form of abuse. It could also mean that the abuse has led to depression, which has, in turn, made the person not want to eat as well as they should.

Of course, you also want to look for a decrease in physical abilities. Someone who used to get around on their own can no longer walk. Someone who didn't need help taking a shower or using the bathroom can no longer get there on their own. These changes are not as obvious as cuts, bruises and lacerations, but they're notable all the same.

These are clues

Experts do warn that the changes noted above are clues. They do not definitely mean that someone has started abusing your loved one. Sometimes, emotional and physical changes just accompany the aging process. It could be as simple as watching your loved one get older.

But they are still clues. They show you that things may have changed and you may need to dig into it a bit deeper. If you do find evidence of neglect or abuse, then it is time to look into all of your legal options.

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  • United States District Court | District Of Arizona
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