Moving into a nursing home is difficult for everyone, but most especially for the individual who will live there. Many are reluctant to leave their homes for the confines of a medical facility. But if they need more medical care than you can provide, a nursing home may be the best answer.
Of course, you’ll always be concerned about your parents. You put your trust in the caretakers and staff where your parent will live. Most people eventually get settled and comfortable with their new environment. But if your loved one is having a hard time adjusting, or just doesn’t seem comfortable in their new home, pay attention. It may not be separation anxiety—it could be abuse.
Changes In Attitude May Be A Sign
While you certainly don’t want to think of your parent being mistreated, it’s important to be observant of anything that seems out of character with them. Frequent visits will alert you to these changes, and to other evidence of abuse and/or neglect.
Some elders, especially those with cognitive issues such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, may not be able to tell you what’s happened to them. If you see evidence of:
- Sudden depression, anxiety, or other mood changes without any obvious causes
- Appetite changes for no apparent reason
- Unable to speak around others, including staff members
- No interest in speaking to visiting family members
- Sudden unexplained injuries, such as broken bones, lacerations, black eyes, etc.
- Injuries that are related to restraints
- Damaged property (clothes, glasses, etc.)
- Resident always in the company of a caretaker and never left alone
- Reports of a resident struck by an employee
Your loved one may be the subject of nursing home abuse. (A complete list of possible abuse signs is available here.) But even if you don’t find evidence of physical abuse, financial abuse is also a possibility. Keeping an eye on your loved one’s finances is the best way to keep others out of your parent’s financial affairs. If you’ve seen:
- Changes to bank or other financial accounts
- New names on signature cards or other financial documents
- Abruptly updated wills
- Overdraft charges for NSF checks
- New loans, mortgages or contracts
- Services that are unnecessary or unexplainable
- Forged signatures
- Lost property
- Any new, unusual and/or questionable financial arrangements that you’re not involved in
What To Do
If you suspect or find evidence of abuse, contact West Virginia’s Adult Protective Services immediately.
Call The Love Law Firm
The Love Law Firm is dedicated to protecting the health and wellbeing of our most vulnerable citizens. We can help when you can’t.
West Virginia has a two-year statute of limitations for you to file a lawsuit on behalf of your loved one. If you believe your loved one has been mistreated by someone in a nursing home, and you can’t get help, it’s time to call us. Contact The Love Law Firm today at (304) 344-5683 to schedule your free consultation with a Charleston, WV nursing home attorney.