As we are aging, those we love are getting older too. Whether they are our grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles etc. There are certain types of care that can’t always be provided at home and so many will seek out nursing homes for a family member. Whether it is due to illness or needing around the clock care for other reasons, there’s the good and the awful in some of these places. The good is the nurturing, caring, compassionate staff that does their job from their heart but then there’s also the cruel, abusive, individuals that work in some of nursing homes. It’s a hard reality to sit with but it does exist.
When it comes to our deep concern for our loved ones that are in or will be going to a nursing home- many times the things we worry about don’t occur. However, imagine finding out someone you entrusted to care for your loved one is abusing them. It’s a sickening thought.
There have been cases of pure neglect- whether that is feeding, bathing, giving proper medication or treating ailments properly. How does someone you love speak up for themselves if they don’t have a voice? Some of these victims have Alzheimer’s and can’t tell a staff member or family member what is going on. Some of them are battling depression and have retreated to a place where mentally it is to painful to speak of the abuse. Others are in fear of telling someone or maybe they don’t have family and don’t feel the staff will do anything to help them. Nevertheless, sadly, it happens all too often and it is awful!
There was a case of an employee at a nursing home who was arrested without bail for forcing an elderly woman to hit herself in the face. If she is found guilty she will spend years in jail for abuse and will have to pay thousands of dollars for pain and suffering.
The gruesome details consist of the victim having her earlobe pinched and then pushing the elderly women’s head down while making her use her own hand to strike herself repeatedly. Not only was she abusing her but making this woman abuse herself!
If you suspect something is wrong- show up during different times of the day and night. Pay attention to what residents are saying as they’re getting changed or what is occurring when it is time for them to eat. Are they receiving proper treatment, being fed if necessary. Are they forced to move into positions while being changed that there body is incapable of. Abuse isn’t always silent but sometimes it is so you’ll have to look and listen for it. Are their unexplainable bruises? These are some things to take notice of. Make sure you know what medication your family member is given and not one prescribed to them without their consent. Not so long ago there were cases against doctors who were prescribing Seroquel to seniors to keep them in bed. This antidepressant drug is not to be used as a tranquilizer so that staff doesn’t have to do their work. It is not for people older than 65 as it can cause death and in some cases paralyze patients upon other awful symptoms.
Anyone would want to take immediate action if they believe a love one is being mistreated but if that is the case you should talk to the higher ups first. If your suspicion is incorrect someone can lose their job and be deemed unqualified to work at another facility.
If you have valid evidence and management isn’t of help to you than the next step would be to notify authorities. While doing so it is also important to get in touch with a lawyer who has been down this terrible road before. They are qualified to know what steps need to be taken. They will be with you during the process and can represent you in court.
Elderly abuse is one of the most horrible things a person can do and should be treated as such. If you have any idea that this could be happening please collect your evidence and speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. No one should have to live under the cruelty of another.