Many individuals require assistance of some form to perform daily living activities in their older years. The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research reports that 88% of Americans prefer at-home care.
However, elderly individuals often find themselves in nursing homes, vulnerable to mistreatment by the staff. According to the National Council on Aging, one out of every 10 people aged 60 and older in the U.S. has been a victim of elder abuse. Nursing home neglect comes in more than one form and is a major concern.
1. Basic neglect
This occurs when caretakers deny elderly residents food and water or provide rotten or unsafe provisions. It may also manifest as not maintaining the inhabitants’ hygiene. For example, failing to bathe the individuals and change their clothes regularly, leaving their rooms mired in filth and squalor instead of cleaning them and letting them sit in their own waste for days on end because they did not replace the bedsheets with clean ones all constitute basic neglect.
2. Emotional neglect
Isolating residents is one form of emotional neglect. Not providing the equipment needed for them to move around and socialize (canes, walking chairs, wheelchairs, etcetera) is another.
3. Medical neglect
Staff members commit medical neglect when they fail to administer the proper dosages of the correct medicine at the right times. Not repositioning bedridden individuals enough to avoid the development of bedsores is another kind of medical neglect, as is not reporting signs of sickness.
Signs of nursing home neglect include bruises, lacerations, malnutrition, dehydration, bedsores, broken bones, sudden aggression or withdrawal and regression among others. Note that these do not absolutely indicate neglect and may be symptoms of other issues. Those who suspect loved ones are victims of nursing home neglect have options available to them.