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Signs that all may not be well in your loved one's nursing home

As an adult child of an aging parent in Massachusetts, you probably worry about your mother's or father's overall well-being as much as you worry about your children's. When parents enter their Golden Years, the parent/child relationship takes on a whole new perspective. In your youth, your parents worried about you as you navigated life's stages, such as your toddler years, pre-teens and into young adulthood. Now, it's you who worries whether your mother or father is safe and in good health.

Many people understand what it's like to worry about a parent whose age or health presents significant daily living challenges. You can't be there 24/7, so you visit as often as you can and try to keep close watch on things. You thoroughly researched available resources when the time came to help your loved one transition to a nursing home. It's one thing, however, to be unsatisfied with the food or other amenities in a nursing facility; it's quite another to suspect that your parent is in danger.

Do not take red flags lightly

If your intuition tells you something just doesn't seem right when you visit the nursing home where your parent lives, it's always best to investigate further rather than check it off as a meaningless suspicion. The following list provides information regarding signs that someone may be neglecting or abusing your loved one:

  • The general atmosphere of a nursing home says a lot about the care provided therein. Do the residents appear happy for the most part, according to their individual needs and circumstances? Does your mother or father seem satisfied with the care he or she receives? Is the facility clean and orderly? Do care providers regularly interact with residents and are there plenty of opportunities for activities and social events?
  • Many nursing home residents rely fully on their care providers for personal hygiene. If you parent appears disheveled or as though he or she is not getting bathed or appropriately tended to, it is a possible sign of neglect.
  • Is your loved one eating regularly and drinking plenty of water? Dehydration or malnutrition are definite signs that improper care occurs in a nursing home.
  • Were you dissatisfied with the explanation given regarding an injury or infection your parent suffered? You have a right to report any incident that raises suspicion or to inquire further if you are not comfortable with your parent's or care provider's answers when you ask questions about an injury or illness.
  • If your parent's personality drastically changes, meaning he or she becomes distant, highly irritable or acts afraid if a particular person enters the room, it may be cause for concern.

Aging itself and any number of psychological or medical conditions can present symptoms that include erratic behavior, lack of appetite, fatigue or mood swings. It's always best, however, to look into any issue or situation that makes you suspect your parent is receiving substandard care.

Beyond investigation: Who can help?

If you believe a staff member has neglected or abused your parent, you can take immediate action to seek justice. There are a number of support networks available to assist you. You can begin by reporting the situation to the appropriate nursing home officials or local authorities.

Many Massachusetts residents also enlist the assistance of experienced personal injury attorneys when planning to seek legal accountability against a nursing home facility or employee.

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