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By John R. Merlino Jr. Esq.
Founding Attorney

If you have an older loved one in a nursing facility, it can be difficult to trust that others will look after them with the level of care, attention, and compassion that you want. Unfortunately, elder abuse and neglect are not as uncommon as we would all like to think. Here, we will discuss some warning signs to be on the look for that may mean your loved one has been the victim of elder abuse.

Recognizing the Signs of Elder Abuse

While the pandemic has led to nursing homes across the country shutting doors to outside visitors, it can still be possible to check in to see if your loved one in a long-term care facility is being treated properly. If you can go visit in person, do so and be prepared to comply with new safety precautions and social distancing measures. If you cannot go in person, try to check in with your loved one via a video conferencing platform such as Zoom or through something like FaceTime.

When visiting with your loved one, look for things such as sudden weight loss or weight gain. Changes in weight can be telling of a bigger problem like your loved one not having his or her nutritional needs properly met. It may also be a sign that your loved one is not getting the exercise he or she should be. It may also be a symptom of stress and anxiety as these are things that can greatly impact someone’s appetite.

Unexplained bruising or other injuries is another telltale sign of elder abuse. Being roughly handled is more likely to be clear on an older individual as their delicate skin tends to bruise easier. Bedsores are also a sign of abuse and neglect. If you notice that your loved one has an injury, ask for details and see how he or she reacts. It might not be something your loved one feels comfortable talking about, especially if in fear of retribution.

Have you noticed a change in your loved one’s personality? This can be another sign of elder abuse. Being the victim of abuse and neglect can greatly change a person’s demeanor. A once happy, content individual can quickly fall into depression when mistreated. Try to coax your loved one into talking about what has been going on. It is, of course, a delicate subject to approach, but you should make an attempt to get your loved one to open up so that, if needed, you can help.

Poor hygiene is another sign of elder abuse and neglect. While hygiene can be easier to measure during an in-person visit, there are also signs to look for if you are video conferencing with a loved one. Something such as unkempt hair and a generally disheveled appearance may be speaking to a bigger issue that is going on at the facility.

Elder Law Attorneys

Finding the proper long-term care facility for your loved one can be extremely difficult. Finding out that the long-term care facility you have selected has been neglectful or outright abusive to your loved one can be even more difficult. The dedicated elder law attorneys at Merlino & Gonzalez can counsel you on finding the right long-term care facility for your loved one and can also help you put a plan in place on how your loved one can cover the often extreme expense of long-term care. Contact us today.

About the Author
John is a fierce advocate and the office guru for problem-solving and brainstorming. He guides clients through every stage of a real estate transaction from offer to contract, navigating through nerve-shattering home inspection and title clearance concerns, maintaining constant contact with lenders, conducting the actual closing, and continuing to advise clients with regard to any post-closing concerns.  John brings a practical and fair-minded approach to the process which has earned him the respect of his clients and peers.