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4 Elder Abuse Assessment Questions to Check on Your Loved One’s Wellbeing

Sending your loved one to a nursing home is one of the most difficult decisions you’ll make in your lifetime. However, monitoring your loved one’s care and wellbeing while they’re in a nursing home is often just as challenging. Whether you live down the street from your loved one’s long-term care facility or 4,000 miles away, there will be a point where they are behind closed doors and out of your visibility. 

Many family members hope they don’t have to worry about what goes on from there—which is what we expect when we entrust our seniors to care services. All too often, residents and their family members are let down. The most effective way to assess your loved ones’ wellbeing is to ask questions. The following list of questions was prepared per the Elder Abuse Suspicion Index (EASI) and will provide you with a good starting point in determining whether your loved one might be suffering from nursing home abuse. 

Has Anyone Restricted Your Daily, Personal, or Social Activities? 

For residents, daily care routines can be quite extensive, from bathing and oral hygiene to dressing and meal preparation. Caregivers must watch over and assist residents in managing their personal care needs. Even after basic needs are met, caregivers must tend to residents’ social activities, such as walking, fresh air time, or arts and crafts with other residents. Failure to meet the needs of residents is not only dangerous and costly to one’s health, but it may also indicate that a caregiver is taking advantage of your loved one. 

Willfully restricting, limiting, or depriving seniors of access to services and activities can be devastating. It’s a form of neglect that means residents may not receive the following: 

  • Food 
  • Water
  • Medication
  • Medical care
  • Physical assistance
  • Therapeutic devices

In addition, nursing home residents may be restricted from visitation with family and friends. Social time plays an instrumental role in your loved one’s life, and being unable to do so is considered emotional abuse. After talking to your loved one and confirming that there have been changes or restrictions in their key daily activities, try to establish how repeatedly these instances occur and who is involved. 

Has Anyone Used Threatening or Violent Behavior Toward You?

Sadly, verbal threats and psychological harm often leave more scars than physical abuse. Verbal mistreatment among nursing home residents may come from nursing home staff or caregivers and includes infliction of threat, fear, manipulation, humiliation, and other malicious conduct. Over time, repeated verbal harassment can make residents uncomfortable, scared, distressed, or withdrawn. These feelings can contribute to mental health problems like anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression.  

Perpetrators of verbal abuse may engage in a combination of both noticeable and hidden acts, like name-calling, intimidation, and demeaning behavior. This type of abuse can make victims think negatively about themselves and make it harder for them to seek help. 

Has Anyone Forced You to Sign a Contract or Give Them Money?

In many ways, financial exploitation is equally or more harmful than emotional and physical abuse, as the effects may extend far past the resident and onto those who depend on them for financial support. Coercing a resident to sign documents such as checks or legal documents or forcing residents to provide financial assistance for one’s own benefit is illegal and comes with both short- and long-term effects.

In the short term, residents may not have access to funds to pay for necessities. Similarly, in the long run, financial abuse can drain their hard-earned life savings, leaving them unable to pay for medical costs and potentially interfering with familiar members who rely on their loved ones to cover their expenses. It can also cause residents to feel stressed and increase feelings of worthlessness, distrust, and powerlessness. 

Has Anyone Hurt or Touched You Without Your Permission?

Caregivers or nursing home staff that negligently exert force against a resident can result in serious harm, including pain, injury, impairment, and sometimes death. Signs of physical abuse include: 

  • Broken bones
  • Sprains
  • Bruises
  • Cuts or scratches
  • Hair loss
  • Missing teeth 

If you notice any visible marks on your loved one’s body, be sure to ask what happened to them. However, keep in mind that physical violence or assault may also stem from unwanted sexual acts. As with any situation involving abuse, residents may fear retaliation for speaking up. Fear, coupled with residents’ limited ability to defend themselves, may prove more dangerous than the act itself.  

Take the Next Steps to Combat Nursing Home Abuse
If you suspect that your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse, the first and most critical step you must take is removing them from this potentially dangerous situation. From there, your best course of action is to ensure your loved one’s rights are protected by contacting an experienced nursing home abuse attorney near you. Dall & Marino, LLP, will guide you and your family members through filing a lawsuit against the appropriate parties. No form of abuse is acceptable, and representing your loved one is a responsibility we take with the utmost seriousness. 

At Dalli & Marino, we serve residents throughout New York City and surrounding areas. Our cases have attained local coverage throughout our firm’s history, featuring the millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts we’ve recovered for our clients. The attorneys of Dalli & Marino offer clients a broad range of legal services and knowledge combined with high-quality work. Call (888) 465-8790 or complete our contact form for a free case evaluation.