— And Understanding The Risk Of Abuse
As we raise our families, we can’t forget our parents and aging relatives. They helped us grow to be healthy, happy adults. It may become our task to ensure they are cared for as they age. If they develop health issues, they may require help. This can range from a visiting assistant to full-time in-home care; in other cases, they may need to find a nursing home to live in.
The Golden Years is a time to relax and enjoy life after retirement. But retirement also marks a milestone leading into a new stage in life. Some adults handle aging well, living independently for decades to come. Others need help as they age. We can do everything in our power to help our loved ones age gracefully, but there may come a time when we need to find them somewhere to live. They can choose retirement communities, assisted living, nursing homes, in-home care, or travel.
When your loved ones are dealing with health or mobility issues, they need the thorough care of a nursing home. If you find yourself researching nursing homes to help your loved one transition into care, here are a few things you need to know.
Key Things to Look For
First and foremost is knowing what type of facility is needed and what activities your loved ones enjoy. For example, nursing homes offer more than healthcare and hygiene: they also offer social activities and occasional sponsored events or outings. In addition, some nursing homes offer different amenities, so you want to know your loved one can participate in whatever activities they prefer.
If your aunt is worried about missing bridge night, find a nursing home that hosts it. If your mother is a quilter, find a hooks and needle club. Perhaps your dad wants to volunteer to help toddlers read. Find a nursing home that works with a learning center.
Keep your loved one involved in your research. The nursing home could be the most luxurious place you’ve seen, but if they don’t like it, they won’t stay.
Nursing homes are about more than having fun with other elders and enjoying entertainment activities. They are meant to care for your loved one daily and handle their medical care. With this being the case, you need to look beyond amenities. Always check the medical facilities and credentials of any home you investigate. You can also reach out to resources like medicare and the National Institute of Aging. In the digital age, you can find almost everything you need online, including reviews and advice in your research.
You also want to read any contracts carefully. Ask any questions you need to. You may also have a lawyer look over the contract to ensure everything is up to par.
Researching nursing homes isn’t always sunshine and daisies. You may have noticed a real and frightening concern mentioned throughout informational pages: nursing home abuse. The statistics are grim. But caring for your elders is not the same as caring for your children; you may face the reality that you can’t care for them yourself, and they need a nursing home. You can best protect your elder loved ones by thoroughly researching potential nursing homes and knowing the signs of abuse.
Know The Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse comes in two forms: negligence and maliciousness. If your loved ones are relatively independent and lucid, they can alert you to any issues. However, if they are losing mental clarity or struggling to care for themselves, they may not be aware of everything happening to them. Or, they may feel vulnerable and scared confiding in you. Here are steps you can take to ensure your loved one is safe.
Keep in Contact
Make sure they know you are a safe place for them. Talk to them often and openly, and ask how things are going. Visit whenever you are able.
Monitor Their Care
Stay on top of their medical needs and treatment plans—check-in with staff on how your loved one is doing and handling their medication or therapy regimens. Keep in contact with your loved one’s medical team, and stay on top of their records and needs.
Know the Staff
Befriend them. Check-in on them and ensure the nursing home takes care of them. Some of the top negligence cases are caused by overworked nursing home staff making simple mistakes. Always remember the Golden Rule: if you treat them well, they will treat you well. Open yourself up as a safe person; they’ll know you aren’t just out to make their lives difficult and really do care.
Some things to watch for with your loved one:
- Are they losing weight or constantly dehydrated
- Are they developing bed sores almost constantly
- Are they dealing with sepsis or other medical emergencies
- Are they falling or breaking multiple bones
- Do they have any dental or facial injuries
- Have they suddenly developed an STD
If your loved one is suffering from the above or something else, you shouldn’t feel bad for investigating.
The nursing home should have complete documentation regarding your loved one’s care; management should help assuage your concerns. If you feel something wrong, it’s time to call in the experts.
Seeking Help for Potential Abuse
If you have concerns about your loved one’s nursing home, there are two forces you should contact. The first is Adult Protective Services; the second is a personal injury lawyer in Chicago. APS is charged with protecting vulnerable adults. They take all reports seriously and will investigate the nursing home for criminal abuse. They also take the nursing home to court if there is enough evidence. On the civil side is your local lawyer. You want to ensure you use a Chicago lawyer if your loved one is in Chicago. A local lawyer is more familiar with state and city statutes and regulations; they are also familiar with people in the area and how the local insurance companies work.
Accidents can happen. Illnesses can come on fast. Even sepsis can escalate to septic shock in a matter of minutes. But just because it can, doesn’t mean that’s why it did. The APS and your lawyer can help you determine precisely what happened for your peace of mind.
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