When you turn to a nursing home or assisted living facility to care for your loved one, you have high expectations about their care. Unfortunately, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, neglect and abuse are common in nursing homes, happening to one in 10 people 60 years or older.
Abuse and neglect are two separate things. Abuse is the presence of violence or harmful behavior, while neglect implies that your loved one is being ignored or not receiving the care they need. If you fear this is the case, there are several signs to watch for.
1. Physical signs of dehydration or malnourishment
One sign of neglect is the obvious indication that your loved one is not getting enough food or fluids. They may seem lethargic, lose excessive amounts of weight or become ill quickly if they are not receiving the food, water and medicine they need.
2. Apathy or lack of excitement
Neglect can lead to a lack of excitement about things that used to interest your loved one. If they are not participating in events that they used to love, or seem apathetic or unexcited to see family members when they visit, it may be a sign that they are usually alone and depressed from the lack of interaction with others.
3. Lack of personal hygiene
Many nursing home patients are unable to bathe or shower themselves and rely on employees for help with basic tasks like washing their hair or going to the bathroom. If your loved one appears to be dirty and uncared for, it may be a sign of neglect.
Patients in nursing homes often deal with a range of emotions because of overwhelming life changes. When it goes a step further, it may be a case of neglect.