How to ensure your loved one avoids nursing home abuse

Care Worker Mistreating Elderly Man

The Hurricane Harvey photo of the nursing home with elderly residents sitting knee-deep in brown flood waters — well, you have to wonder. What happened to the staff?

Probably a lot of folks are asking that question, especially in Texas.

The outcry on social media assured us these elderly victims of Hurricane Harvey were indeed evacuated.  But, seriously,  wasn’t there enough staff  and resources to prevent this catastrophe from happening in the first place?

Why weren’t the residents moved out of the path of such a dangerous storm?

I’m not going to cry abuse. Who knows all of the surrounding circumstances?  Hurricane Harvey was beyond the scope of a “normal” event.  Heart-breaking! What if that was MY mom sitting helplessly in a flooded home?

Sadly, elder abuse and neglect in Missouri and nationwide is a tragic problem!  A recent article in The Kansas City Star highlights one major aspect of this hidden problem – sexual abuse.

According to this article,  the sexual abuse of seniors  often gets filed under general abuse and neglect claims or not reported at all. It’s really difficult to put an accurate number on this problem. Chances are, sexual abuse is under-reported.

Why do senior abuse and neglect issues get little attention?

When dementia or other mental degeneration exists, abuse problems can be hard to validate.  My own grandfather suffered from  Lewy body dementia.  His mind took wild trips to places and scenarios that couldn’t even possibly exist!

Seniors can be very frail and prone to falls, but  very determined to continue living life as they wish.

Just this week, a friend’s elderly dad fell again in the bathroom.  Despite 24-7 care, this fall would have been difficult to prevent.  Respecting his privacy is a challenge for all involved!

The voices of nursing home abuse victims sometimes fail to get heard or taken seriously.  Abuse victims across all walks of life have to fight to get heard. Like children, the elderly are especially likely to be ignored if they complain of abuse. Shame silences voices, too.

Nursing home facilities are often understaffed and  the staff underpaid.

We’ve seen this first-hand, even in a very decent  assisted living facility.  The caregiver on duty would inevitably be floating between several rooms. It could take a while for help to arrive.

Once, when we arrived  and found our relative sitting in a dirty diaper,  we immediately took action.  The requested help came with an apologetic  explanation about a staff member leaving early.  The assistant was polite and kind.

 What can you do to make sure your loved one is getting proper care?

Check on your loved one frequently. Getting acquainted with the nursing staff helps. Knowing that someone else is watching over their care makes a difference.  It’s a way of quietly ensuring quality care.

If you live out of state, hopefully collaborate with a nearby relative to keep eyes on your loved one.

Treat your loved one’s caregivers with kindness and respect. It’s a hard job! Just like an appreciative boss is easier to work with, so are appreciative clients.  Use good manners and polite words. Your kindness could create an attitude of paying it forward to your loved one!

Look for warning signs of nursing home abuse.  Here are a few.

  • Staff that is rude or impatient with the elderly
  • Long delays in getting requested help
  • Failure of staff to communicate with the family
  • Frequent bruises or signs of injuries
  • Facilities that are often dirty

If you even suspect your loved one is experiencing abuse or neglect in a Missouri nursing home or assisted living home,  you need a free legal consultation right away! Don’t let possible  elder abuse slide through the cracks!

An experienced, caring nursing home abuse attorney is waiting for your call at The Law Offices of Nathan A. Steimel, LLC.  Call 636-244-3737 today!