If you have a loved one in a nursing home, don't assume that they aren't suffering from abuse just because they haven't experienced any physical injuries. Nursing home abuse can take many forms, many of them nonphysical in nature. Nonphysical abuse may not be easily visible, but the following telltale signs should make you suspicious:
Many victims of emotional abuse withdraw into themselves, especially if they haven't found the right person or time to open up. Therefore, you should be suspicious if your loved one no longer wants to interact with other nursing home residents or staff. Don't jump to conclusions because other problems may be causing your loved one's withdrawn behavior; do some digging to unearth the root of the problem.
You should also be suspicious if your loved one starts to engage in arguments with the nursing home staff, visitors, or other residents of the home. This may be their way of coping with the abuse. It may be, for example, that they are taking out their frustrations on others.
Change in Behavior
Emotional abuse isn't always easy to detect because people react to it in different ways. In many cases there will be change; it might just be difficult to link the change to emotional abuse. You know your loved one best; therefore, your suspicions should be aroused any time your loved one exhibits a change in behavior. For example, your loved one may become bitter, argumentative, quiet, or paranoid even if they didn't show those behaviors before.
Emotional abuse isn't the only form of nonphysical nursing home abuse; many residents of nursing homes also suffer from financial abuse. A common sign of physical abuse is the abundance of unpaid bills. You may notice that your loved one's phone bills, insurance, or magazine subscriptions haven't been paid for even though you know they should have adequate funds for the expenses.
In some cases, you may also notice your loved one "spending" money on things you are sure they have never cared for. For example, they may subscribe to a magazine service or start buying outdoor gear even though you know they don't like such things. Such things may happen if another person is using your loved one's identity to make the purchases.
If you have a loved one in a nursing home, you should be on the lookout for these and other signs that may point to abuse. Hopefully, your loved one won't suffer any form of abuse or neglect. However, if you do unearth a case of abuse, it's your legal right to seek redress for the injuries, even if they aren't physical. Contact a law firm like Reed Law to learn more.