When you help your parent get situated in an assisted living facility, you hope for the best. You do your research, tour the facility and get to know the staff. Once your parent settles in, you make regular visits to ensure everything is going according to plan.
But even if things seem fine from the start, that may not be the case. Staff members at some assisted living facilities are perpetrators of elder abuse. This may be more common than you think. In fact, 10% of Americans aged 60 or older experience elder abuse. But how do you know when this is happening? Here is some information on the forms of abuse that can occur in assisted living facilities and warning signs that should make you suspicious.
Types of assisted living abuse
Mistreatment of elderly residents can take various forms, including the following:
- Physical abuse, including hitting, kicking, slapping or pushing; may also include improper or excessive use of restraints
- Psychological abuse, including harassment, bullying, humiliating or verbally assaulting treatment
- Sexual abuse, including any nonconsensual acts
- Isolation, which can involve restricting visits or contact from friends and family members
- Financial exploitation, including stealing money or gaining access to financial accounts
- Neglect, including refusal of proper treatment or meals
No matter what form of abuse happens, it can cause severe emotional pain and physical harm for seniors.
Here are some indicators that your parent may be a victim of abuse in an assisted living environment:
- Unexplained injuries, such as bruises or cuts
- Sudden weight loss
- Rapid deterioration of mental or physical health
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Poor hygiene
- Changes in social behavior
- Fearful attitude
- Depression or anxiety
- Tense relationships with staff members
Elder abuse is never something to take lightly. Anyone who engages in these activities or allows them to occur should be held legally accountable. Your loved one deserves protection.