• May
    Posted in:
    Posted by: Jarve Kaplan Granato Starr

    How to Talk to an Older Loved One About Nursing Home Abuse

    It is always hard to make the decision to move an elderly loved one into a nursing home. It seems like a surrender to remove a person who was once vibrant and self-sufficient into an institutional setting, and like a betrayal not to take them into your own home or provide them the care that they need in theirs. When you add to that guilt a suspicion of nursing home abuse and it is easy to feel paralyzed and uncertain as to what to do or where to turn. The first step is to talk to your loved one directly and ask them if they are being victimized. As hard as that conversation may feel, it is essential that you have it, and do so as quickly as possible.

    Talking about nursing home abuse is not easy. If they’ve been the victim of physical abuse, they may be frightened, and if they’ve suffered sexual abuse they may be embarrassed as well. The perpetrator of the abuse may have threatened them or told them that nobody will ever believe them, while those who are perpetrating financial abuse may have convinced them that they are the only one who they can trust and that nobody in the family cares about them anymore.  Whatever the hurdles to be faced, it is important that you open a dialogue and give your loved one the opportunity to talk about what is happening to them. It is the most effective way to get them the protection that they need.

    The best way to talk about nursing home abuse is to do so before it ever happens. Have a frank conversation with your loved one when they first enter the facility and warn them that it sometimes happens, and that it’s important that they speak to you about it immediately if it does. If it’s too late for that conversation to take place and you now suspect abuse as a result of changes in your loved one’s behavior or physical signs of abuse, then it is urgent to sit down and have an open and straightforward conversation. Ask your loved one about what you’ve seen that has raised your concerns and tell them that you want to help. Tell them that they do not need to be afraid, that nothing that is happening to them is their fault and that they can be honest – indeed that being as open as possible is essential to your being able to protect them.

    Take note of whether any staff members try to prevent you from having the privacy and time to have that conversation with your loved one. Should that happen it is a warning sign, and you need to immediately escalate the situation to an administrator and demand that you be able to speak with your loved one alone.

    If you suspect that your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse, discussing what is happening to them is the first step to safety. For legal assistance, contact our office today.

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