If you have elderly family members or friends in a nursing home, there’s a good chance that you will be paying them a visit over the holidays.
While you are enjoying each other’s company and having a festive celebration, the visit should also give you a chance to talk to your loved one and to observe his or her behavior. Carefully observe the condition of the home and other residents.
Our Tuscaloosa nursing home abuse attorneys have discussed the subject of nursing home abuse before, including last month when we wrote about the tragic death of a 94-year-old-woman killed in an Alabama nursing home fire drill. We want to urge you to take extra care this holiday season to ensure our elderly loved ones are treated with the care and respect they deserve.
According to a 2011 article in The News Courier, adult protective services referred 5,312 possible abuse cases to the Department of Human Resources for investigation in the prior year. In the majority of abuse situations investigated, the alleged abuse was directed at a person aged 75 to 84.
Although 5,312 abuse cases is a staggering number, these investigations may reflect only a small portion of the abuse that is actually occurring. The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that anywhere between 1 and 2 million seniors age 65 and older throughout the U.S. are abused but that many cases of abuse go unreported since the elderly aren’t able to speak up for themselves or to get the help they need.
For seniors who cannot speak out or who are afraid to speak out, only a loved one, friend or relative can take action to break the cycle of abuse. This is why it is so important to pay attention on visits. Nursing homes know that residents tend to get the most visits over the holidays and consequently conditions should be at their best.
Spotting Signs of Abuse in Alabama Nursing Homes
The National Center on Elder Abuse provides a list of warning signs to be on the lookout for in order to spot elder abuse. Warning signs include:
If you notice these signs of abuse or identify anything out of the ordinary, it is always a good idea to take action. It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to preventing potential nursing home abuse, especially since the abuse may be widespread and individuals at the nursing home may have no one to speak up for their interests.
Resources for reporting abuse to appropriate state agencies can be found at www.ncea.aoa.gov. Individuals who have suffered harm as a result of nursing home abuse may also take legal action by contacting a nursing home abuse attorney.
94-Year-Old Wheelchair Resident Killed in Alabama Nursing Home Fire Drill, By Cross & Smith LLC, October 30, 2012.