Given that the holiday season typically is a time in which families get together to celebrate, it also offers an opportunity to keep a watchful eye for signs of elder abuse and neglect. According to a publication from the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), holidays often are a time in which we get the chance to visit with elderly parents or grandparents, and a surprising number of those seniors could be at risk of nursing home abuse. As the publication clarifies, about 10% of seniors suffer from elder abuse or neglect, but many of them do not get the chance to report the abuse, particularly if it is happening under the watch of a home caregiver or a nursing home assistant.
What can you do to ensure that all members of your family, including the older adults in your life, have a happy and healthy holiday season?
Ask Yourself the Right Questions When You Visit
If the period between Thanksgiving and the New Year is the only time in which you are likely to see an elderly relative in person, it is important to pay particular attention to that senior’s surroundings and to ask yourself some important questions that could point to signs of nursing home abuse. If your elderly parent still lives alone at home, you need to be sure that he or she has everything he or she needs to take care of him or herself properly. Remember that seniors can suffer injuries as a result of self-neglect, as well as abuse by other seniors with whom they are currently living.
You might ask yourself some of the following questions to determine whether your elderly loved one’s current living situation is adequate in terms of his or her specific needs:
- Does your parent need help with chores around the house?
- Does your parent need assistance with transportation, to the grocery store or to physician appointments?
- Does your elderly loved one need help bathing, dressing, taking medications, or performing other activities of daily living?
- Is he or she isolated from the community, or are there opportunities to socialize with other persons or community members?
- If your parent lives with another person, is your parent dependent upon that other person for care? If so, do you think that person is an appropriate caregiver? Does the caregiver understand the specific needs of your elderly loved one, such as bathing, dressing, and understanding medication directions?
- If your elderly loved one lives at a nursing home or an assisted-living facility, does she seem content? Do you notice any signs of physical abuse or neglect? Are there significant shifts in mood or behavior?
As the publication explains, if you do not suspect elder abuse before a holiday visit, be aware of any circumstances that seem suspicious. And if you do have suspicions that an elderly loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, you should schedule a longer visit to give you time to assess the situation and to meet with advocates in the area.
Contact a San Diego Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
While the holidays should be a happy time for families and friends, it is important to remember that elder abuse can happen at any time of the year. If you have concerns about an older adult’s safety or wellbeing, you should speak with a dedicated San Diego nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible. Contact the Walton Law Firm today to learn more about how we can assist you.
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