There are plenty of elderly homes in the US that provide short and long-term care to their residents. Elderly homes provide various benefits to the elderly, like looking after their dietry needs and assisting them in their day-to-day tasks. Moreover, they also create a safe environment for members to actively socialize with each other. Top-quality healthcare services are also available 24/7 at most elderly homes. Despite all the advantages, abuse in elderly homes is a growing concern.
Any form of mental, physical, and sexual abuse or depriving the elderly of necessary health and welfare services is considered elderly abuse. Elders at an elderly home facility also often go through financial abuse, which involves a caretaker taking over the property and other assets of an elderly through fraudulent methods.
Early signs can help you detect if your elderly are facing abuse at the home. The most common symptoms include unexplained scars and bruises on the body, feeling confused and depressed, developing preventable conditions like bedsores, changes in spending patterns, and elderly looking dirty and dehydrated.
In this article, we are going to discuss the things to do after spotting abuse in an elderly home.
- Seek the help of a Nursing Home Ombudsman
After recognizing the signs of abuse at an elderly home, what should be your next step? First and foremost, you should seek the help of a nursing home ombudsman, but what is ombudsman? An ombudsman is an official appointed by the government to resolve disputes between businesses, universities, and other institutes. A nursing home ombudsman handles abuse complaints against elderly homes, protects the rights of the elderly, and helps them gain justice.
All the states in America have a long-term care ombudsman program that focuses on improving the quality of care provided at elderly homes. A number of employed and volunteer ombudsman prevent abuse at elderly homes by;
- Educating caretakers and consumers about standard care practices
- Participating in abuse prevention protests and task forces
- Regularly visiting elderly home facilities to ensure that they follow all the rules and provide top-quality care
- Reporting nursing home abuse to record and maintain the figures
- Working with the government officials during abuse investigations
- Hold the Nursing Home Accountable
It is crucial to hold those nursing homes accountable that provide low-quality care or whose residents show signs of abuse because otherwise, the cycle of elderly abuse will continue. Nursing homeowners use different tactics to evade laws that protect elderly home residents. They also keep most of the revenue and spend a limited amount of money on the welfare of the residents. However, a recent law was passed in New York State that mandates elderly homes to spend a significant amount of their revenue on providing top quality of care to the residents.
The federal law also protects the right to dignity of elderly residents and mandates that they must be treated with respect. So, any elderly homes that are not following the law or lack basic human etiquette should be prosecuted.
- Don’t Forget to Report the Abuse
Sometimes family, friends, and elderly home workers don’t report elder abuse. It can be due to different reasons. They may not know what to do or who to speak to, they may not be willing to get involved, they may be afraid of the abuser, and the elderly may ask them not to speak about it.
However, it is a serious issue, and you must report it. Lack of reporting is also the reason why we can’t truly determine the scale of elderly abuse in America. If you suspect elderly abuse, contact your local police and lodge an online complaint in your local adult protective services office.
- Stop the abuse Before it Escalate
It is crucial to take action against elderly abuse as soon as you spot it without wasting any time. There are different steps that you can take to ensure the immediate safety of the abused elderly. Make sure to keep visiting the elderly home and notice any further changes in their behavior or health. If the elderly complaint about a caretaker, listen to them attentively.
If the mind of the elderly is not stimulated, their cognitive abilities can decline rapidly. Therefore, help the elderly stay mentally active by providing them with puzzles and other games. It will also help them comprehend abuse earlier. Other measures you can take to ensure the safety of elders include;
- Hand them a list of all important phone numbers
- Buy an easy to use (friendly interface) mobile phone for them
- Teach them to code words to ask for help
- Review their financial accounts
- Advise them to not keep a lot of cash with them
- Change their account passwords
- Consider notifying the police to ensure immediate safety
- Help them join a supportive social group
The Bottom Line
Elderly homes are common in the US, and they provide various benefits. However, elderly abuse is also becoming a growing concern in the country. Different signs and symptoms like physical injuries, mental distress, and other factors can help you spot abuse in an elderly home. You should take the necessary measures to report and stop the abuse.
Firstly, you should contact your police or local nursing home ombudsman and report the elderly home where the abuse occurred. It is crucial to hold the elderly homes responsible and take strict action against them. Otherwise, they’ll get away with it, and the cycle of abuse will never stop. Many elderly abuse cases are not reported because of various reasons. However, it is important to report elderly abuse to the appropriate authorities. Lastly, if you are reluctant to take immediate action after spotting abuse, take some safety measures to protect the elderly at risk. These measures can include providing them with a cell phone, ensuring their financial security, and equipping them with other protection skills. Hopefully, this article will help you understand the things to do after spotting abuse in an elderly home.