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How can I tell if my parent is being abused in a nursing home?

It can be difficult emotionally to see your parent put in a nursing home. You might be feeling sad that your parent is no longer independent, as well as a little guilty that you are not caring for your aging loved one yourself. However, sometimes it is necessary for Illinois residents to put their trust in nursing home caregivers. Your work schedule or inexperience with your relative’s specific needs might leave you no other choice.

Ideally, nursing home caregivers should treat your parent with dignity and respect while giving him or her the best care possible. Sadly, this is not always the case for many nursing home facilities across the country. It is not uncommon for caregivers to mistreat or neglect a very vulnerable segment of society. If you suspect your loved one is not receiving quality care at his or her nursing home, HelpGuide suggests you might look for the following signs:

  • Sudden emotional withdrawal, fear and mistrust toward certain members of staff or signs of depression and anxiety
  • Injuries that cannot be explained to your satisfaction, such as fractures, cuts, scratches or finger-shaped bruising
  • Infected or untreated pressure sores
  • Signs of malnourishment or dehydration
  • Unhygienic conditions and unwashed bedding in your parent’s room

You should also understand that not all suspicious signs point to abuse. Elderly people have thinner skin that is more susceptible to injury, and they may fall or develop bed sores despite the best precautions. Certain medications or medical disorders may contribute to depression or mood changes. These conditions may be properly addressed with the type of quality care and monitoring that occurs in good nursing homes. However, if your gut feeling is telling you something is wrong, it is a good idea to pay close attention and take action if needed.

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