It takes trust to leave someone you love in an Ohio nursing home or long-term care facility. Unfortunately, not all trust is deserved.
The Administration on Aging, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, lists some of the most common warning signs of elder abuse and neglect. Here are seven of these potential red flags to watch for:
- Physical marks – Pay attention to any unexplained bruises, burns, sprains, broken bones, bed sores or pressure marks, which may denote physical abuse or neglect. Bruises, bleeding and other marks around the genital area can also be signs of sexual abuse.
- Mood changes – If a loved one who is normally social and upbeat suddenly becomes depressed and withdrawn, pay attention. This can sometimes indicate emotional abuse.
- Poor hygiene – If your elderly family member is often dressed in soiled clothes, has strong body odor or shows other signs of poor hygiene, it may be a sign of neglect.
- Weight changes – Malnourishment and dehydration are serious concerns for the elderly. If a loved one has lost an unusual amount of weight or shows signs of dehydration, don’t ignore it.
- Tense atmosphere – Does your loved one seem calm and comfortable in the presence of his or her caregivers, or is the atmosphere full of tension and fear? The emotional climate can provide important clues as to how your loved one is being treated.
- Harsh words – How do caregivers speak to your loved one? If they are frequently argumentative, belittling, threatening or condescending, your loved one may be in danger of mistreatment.
- Missing money – Watch for unusual transactions, depleted bank accounts, missing cash and other signs of financial exploitation.
Of course, abuse and neglect can come in countless forms. If you see something that seems suspicious, don’t hesitate to report it. You don’t have to become a private investigator and prove that abuse is actually occurring. All you have to do is take the first step and alert someone to the potential problem.
An attorney experienced in elder law is an excellent choice to advise you about your legal options. He or she can work with you to put an end to any abuse and pursue compensation for any injuries. Because most elder law attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, you typically owe nothing unless you recover compensation.