Forms of Nursing Home Abuse

When the time comes to move a loved one into a nursing home or long-term care facility, most of us assume that they will be treated with dignity and compassion. Sadly, though, nursing home abuse is an all-too-common phenomenon in today’s world. Simply assuming that your loved one will be tended to with professionalism is foolhardy at best – and downright dangerous at worst. In order to detect nursing home abuse, it helps to familiarize yourself with the many different ways in which it can occur – and to remember that the elderly don’t often realize they’re being abused, or are too embarrassed and ashamed to say anything about it.

Physical and Sexual Abuse

Out of all of the different types of nursing home abuse that can occur, physical and sexual abuse tend to be the most upsetting. Knowing that the people who are charged with caring for your loved one have been physically or sexually assaulting them can be terrifying. Physical abuse can occur in a number of ways. Sometimes, the elderly are battered around by staff members when they refuse to cooperate; other times, nursing home residents are restrained against their will by impatient and uncaring personnel. Drugs are also occasionally used to keep nursing home patients docile.

Sexual abuse is one topic that is rarely brought to light when it comes to nursing homes. Sadly, incapacitated elderly patients are sometimes taken advantage of by staff members in long-term care facilities. This type of abuse tends to be the most difficult to detect; it’s also very difficult to prove.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse – including humiliation, intimidation, isolation, threats and shouting – is another common form of nursing home abuse. Unlike physical abuse, though, it doesn’t leave any noticeable marks or scars on its victims. A vicious cycle often develops, too, since elderly victims are kept quiet with threats and intimidation.

Financial Abuse

It’s all too easy for the elderly to be taken advantage of financially, even when they still live on their own. The problem is even more widespread in nursing homes, where staff members can pilfer through residents’ belongings, stealing their possessions and engaging in identity theft. Sometimes, medications are stolen, too.

As outlined above, there is no single definition for nursing home abuse. It takes many different forms and is a reality that everyone with elderly parents and relatives must be educated about.

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