Updated September 6, 2019
The elderly population, especially those residing in nursing homes and dependent on staff care, are vulnerable to abuse at tragic rates in the United States. This abuse can take many forms: physical, emotional, financial, or sexual. It can also look like neglect. And it is, unfortunately, all too common.
Having a conversation about abuse can be difficult. Victims can feel ashamed, embarrassed, or scared, and unfortunately, a common factor in abuse victims is that they believe they are at fault for the abuse. Follow these guidelines to establish a nonjudgmental and loving dialogue.
Symptoms of nursing home abuse and neglect can be obvious or subtle; they also vary depending on the type of abuse. By familiarizing yourself with the warning signs, you can better identify when the elderly people in your life are hurting.
Ask yourself these questions:
Not all victims speak up. It is up to you—family and friends of elderly abuse victims—to recognize signs of potential abuse.
If you believe that abuse or neglect is or may be occurring in the nursing home, the next step is to start a conversation with your elderly loved one about your suspicions. This conversation might be uncomfortable and infuriating—for both you and the victim. Here are some talking points to help you get started:
Although these questions may seem simplistic, such straightforward questions may help victims discuss the situation.
After prompting a discussion, your job is to listen. Listen carefully, without making judgments, interrupting their story, or showing extreme emotions such as pity or anger.
By listening carefully, you are showing that you support and believe the victim.
Abuse victims are not to blame, and they are not alone. Provide resources that back up these facts, such as statistics that show how common nursing home abuse is and a concrete reinforcement that you believe them.
When you suspect nursing home abuse, you need to report the abuse, move care elsewhere, and contact an attorney to discuss your legal rights.
Telling their story can be overwhelming for nursing home abuse victims, and next steps are equally as scary. Emphasize that you will be with them every step of the way as you seek justice and discuss legal options.
If you spoke with your elderly loved one and discovered that a nursing home or its employees have committed abuse or neglect, contact the Indianapolis Nursing Home and Elder Abuse Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help your family get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
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