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On a recent visit to either your loved one’s home or elder care facility, you may have heard them complaining about bedsores. Bedsores, you may know, are a sign that the elderly person has not been moved in some time from their position in bed. Maybe it startled you a bit because you chose a facility or caregiver who you believed to be attentive and competent. You are the advocate for your loved one in this situation, so it is important for you to do a bit of investigating in this situation to understand why and how they ended up with painful sores.
When a caregiver (or even a family member) fails to perform their basic duties to meet the needs of their elderly patient, it can result in neglect.
What is Elder Neglect?
Elder neglect is when a caregiver does not provide for an elder’s physical or psychological needs or fails to provide for their safety. Often time victims of this type of neglect are those who cannot take care of themselves and depend on their caregivers to provide them assistance.
What Does Elder Neglect Look Like?
Neglect can manifest itself in different ways. Physically, it can mean that the caregiver fails to give the elder the proper medication or physical therapy. It can also be as simple as neglecting to assist the elder with their personal hygiene, or allowing the elder to live in unsanitary conditions that can eventually become harmful to the elder’s health and wellbeing.
Psychological neglect can mean isolating the elder from others, failing to give them social contact, activities, or leaving them alone for prolonged periods of time. This can cause significant changes in the elder’s mood, causing depression or withdrawal.
But neglect isn’t always the direct result of a caregiver. There is also self-neglect to be considered and watched for.
What is Self Neglect?
Self-neglect is when an elderly person threatens their own safety through behaviors such as failing to feed themselves, failing to hydrate, neglecting their personal hygiene, failing to take their medication when indicated or not following safety precautions (the use of walkers and aids, for example).
So How Can You Catch the Signs of Neglect?
Below are a few warning signs for neglect of an elder, either as a result of themselves or their caregiver:
- Lack of basic necessities such as food, water, shelter, adequate clothing, heat or air conditioning
- Dehydration or malnutrition
- Unexplained weight loss, lack of energy, mental confusion
- Poor personal hygiene
- Untreated bedsores
- Inadequate living environment (whether because it is unsanitary or made unsafe by disrepair, faulty wiring, or substandard cleanliness)
- Insect or animal infestations in living environment
- Medical or mental conditions are worsening or doing untreated
- Mismanaging of medications or medical aids such as dentures, eyeglasses, hearing aids, wheelchairs, braces, etc.
- Unexplained or unlikely explanations for injuries
- Extreme withdrawal, confusion, depression
- Emotional distress
- Self destructive behavior
It is important to note that one or two of these symptoms alone may not be an indicator that your loved one is being neglected or neglecting their own health, but when more than a few of these symptoms are present, there could be cause to investigate the circumstances. If you believe that you or someone who you know is being neglected, it is important that you report that neglect.
Nursing home laws are in place both federally and state-to-state that ensure certain standards of care and levels of service for nursing home residents. You can also contact the best nursing home abuse lawyer Philadelphia trusts to find out your legal options.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Wieand Law Firm, LLC for their insight into personal injuries and types elder abuse.