Signs That Your Elderly Parent Is Abused Or Neglected By Their Caregiver
Whether or not your elderly parent is in a nursing home or is being cared for at home by a full-time professional caregiver, you want to trust they are being taken care of by whoever is in charge. However, you may start to feel that your loved one is being abused or neglected and cannot express themselves because of their condition. If so, look for the following signs.
Weight Loss Not Related To A Medical Condition
Each time you visit your parent, you may notice they seem thinner than they were before. If they have a medical condition, such as cancer or diabetes, this could explain the unexpected weight loss. However, if you notice that your loved one eats fine while you are visiting, this could be a sign that they are either being neglected and not fed properly, or it could be an indication that food is being withheld as a "punishment" for undesirable behavior as seen by the caregiver or staff.
One way to find out if this could be the case is to stop by unexpectedly about an hour after your parent usually takes their meals. If you see a meal tray sitting in their room outside of reach, it could be that no one is taking the time to feed your parent. You could bring this up immediately with the caregiver or nursing home manager, or have an elder law attorney represent your concerns.
Unexplained Bruises Or Tears On Their Skin
Another sign of possible abuse or neglect is the appearance of bruises or tears on their skin. Granted, this could be a sign that your parent tried to get up on their own and banged into a table or the bed rails. And since skin tears do sometimes easily occur in elderly individuals, this could just be a side effect of being turned or dressed.
However, if you start to notice that the bruises and skin tears are increasing dramatically, or if you see new ones at each visit, this is a possible sign that your loved one is being abused. It could be an indication that they are not being watched, and your parent is trying to get up too often because toileting or feeding needs are not being met.
If you notice the signs of abuse or neglect above or think something suspicious is going on, you may want to contact an attorney who specializes in elder law. They can let you know if there are any grounds for you to worry, and if so, they can open an inquiry or investigation to find out what is really happening to your parent.