La'Rae H. Hendrix P.A.

Is it safe to put your elderly mother in a nursing home?

As your mother's age goes up and her health goes down, you may find yourself facing difficult decisions about her care. Caring for her yourself or hiring in-home care may not be viable options, so perhaps you are considering putting her into a nursing home.

Before you start the process, be aware of the safety concerns surrounding these facilities so you can protect your elderly mother from harm and injury.

Elder abuse is a real risk

Unfortunately, respectful treatment of senior citizens around the world is in decline. Nearly 16 percent of people 60 or older experience some form of abuse, reports WHO. The most common abuse is psychological, with others in descending order being financial, neglect, physical and sexual. 

Why is elder abuse so high?

Elderly people are easy targets for predators due to the following risk factors:

  • Limited physical abilities
  • Memory problems and other cognitive impairment
  • Isolation
  • Side effects of medications

Some nursing homes are rampant with various forms of abuse, but it is not always intentional. Many homes simply do not have enough staff to medically care for and protect patients, causing them to suffer from things such as bed sores and medication errors, as well as making it easier for intentional abuse to go unnoticed.

What you can do

Do in-depth research of facilities before choosing one. Look at reviews, talk to patients and their families, observe how the place runs and check that there is sufficient staff. Once your mother is residing there, continue to monitor her health. Make visiting and contacting her a priority. Stay involved in her medical care to avoid mistakes or neglect.

Talk to the facility about their rules on using security cameras and other recording devices. Ask your mother about her treatment and pay attention to any unexplained changes in health, mood or personality, as they can be signs of abuse. If you find an injury or suspect harm, speak to an attorney right away.

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