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Watch for warning signs of nursing home abuse or neglect

When your parents can't take care of themselves any longer and require care that you can't provide, it may be time to consider a nursing home.

Maybe you found one in Oklahoma that you thought was ideal for Mom or Dad. However, after they've been there for a few months, you're not so sure. They just aren't themselves anymore, and you're starting to wonder why.

Your loved one could be a victim of nursing home neglect or abuse. Here are some red flags you should be looking for on your visits:

  1. Do you notice emotional or physical changes? Have they withdrawn or chosen not to take part in activities offered there? Do you notice weight loss or changes in mood? Do you spot bruises or pressure ulcers? Some of these could be a sign of aging but make a note of what you see during your visit and compare from one visit to the next.
  2. Is the staff nonresponsive to your questions? If you question why your parent has lost weight, for example, does a staff member give you reasons or share their concerns, or is your question avoided?
  3. Are the managers of the home accessible and involved? Is the staff large enough to properly care for the residents? During meals or group activities, do they talk to the residents or just among themselves? Is there high staff turnover?
  4. Is your loved one showing signs of malnourishment or dehydration? If there aren't enough employees, meals and fluids may not be given on a proper schedule. If you see this, contact the managers immediately.
  5. Does your parent say they don't want a particular staff member to care for them? That could be a sign of neglect or abuse. Watch how your parent feels when a particular staff member is near.

Note how responsive the staff is. Do they answer promptly when your parent presses the call button? When you visit, press the call button in the room and see how long it takes for a staff member to respond.

What does your instinct tell you? If you suspect something is wrong, it probably is. Our parents deserve the best in their final years. If your parent is a victim of abuse or neglect, explore your legal options.

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