While physical harm is part of nursing home abuse in California, there can be several more elements, including neglect and sexual, emotional and financial abuse. Neglect comes into play when a senior receives a lack of attention for most or all his or her emotional or physical needs. Emotional abuse usually involves threats or name-calling, and financial abuse may involve creating a scam and robbing a nursing home resident. Sexual abuse involves sexually exploiting an older person through force or coercion. Sometimes, individuals who cannot consent, such as those with Alzheimer’s or dementia, get sexually abused.
Signs of nursing home abuse
If your loved one is being subjected to nursing home abuse, there are a few red flags. They include:
- Inadequate nutrition
- Cuts and burns
- Broken bones
- Missing medical devices
- Sudden changes in behavior
Document any signs of abuse
You should carefully document any potential signs of abuse if you suspect that staff members at a nursing home are abusing your loved one. Documentation strengthens your elder abuse case in the event of a lawsuit or a criminal investigation. To make sure you document these signs properly, jot down any changes you have noticed in as much detail as you can remember. It helps if you write down the time and date when you noticed signs of abuse. Taking pictures of the evidence can strengthen your case as well.
After you detail the signs of abuse, you can report the behavior to the authorities or speak with an attorney who is experienced with elder abuse. You can also contact the National Center on Elder Abuse. A lawyer may suggest that you file criminal charges for emotional, sexual or financial abuse.
If you still aren’t sure if abuse or neglect has occurred, you can contact your local Adult Protective Services (APS) branch for help. A social worker can determine if abuse has happened and contact the elderly person to ensure that he or she is safe.