Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes

Dec 22

More than 15,000 registered nursing home facilities in the U.S. offer care and shelter to at least 1.5 million elders, mentally incapacitated young adults, patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, and victims of accidents requiring therapy and rehabilitation. Though sending a loved one to a nursing home, where his/her needs is believed will be provided, is a common practice, many Americans are beset by worries due to widespread news of abuses committed to nursing home residents.

The most common reported abuses committed against elders include emotional abuse, physical abuse, financial abuse and sexual abuse, the most wicked of all types of abuses. Mistreating elders and other residents sexually can be done through many different ways. It can be through fondling, showing of pornographic materials, forced nudity, forcing another resident to kiss or touch the victim and, worst of all, forced penetrative acts.

Many nursing homes reason out that they do not have enough number of nurse aides, staff and/or registered nurses, thus their employees are often overworked, tired and fatigued from all the needs and requests of residents which seem to be endless.

Sexual abuse is usually never immediately obvious, but being really observant of sudden changes in a resident’s behavior may just manifest the fact that something is wrong. Sexually abused residents typically:

  • Begin to display low self-esteem;
  • Avoid having eye contact with other residents;
  • Stop speaking openly, to hide the abuses they are suffering from;
  • Start feeling hopeless, disturbed, or afraid;
  • Become depressed and withdrawn; and,
  • Begin to show abrupt mood swings

While injuries or any kind of harm sustained by residents in a nursing home facility may be considered a personal injury and, thus, deserving compensation, the act of abuse itself is considered a criminal act, deserving harsh punishments.

In the website of the law firm Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, it is said that “Allegations of sexual abuse are serious and will need to be duly investigated by the appropriate authorities. That being said, you need to take immediate action to protect your loved one if you suspect he or she has experienced unwanted or otherwise non-consensual sexual contact.”

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Coping with the Loss of Independence & Solutions to Maintain Independence

Mar 01

It is difficult to know that a loved one is reaching a point in their life and health where they are no longer safe and secure living on their own. This loss of independence is assuredly frustrating for them, as an adult who was able to take care of themselves before changes to their health. Your loved one may suddenly become completely dependent on you to provide stable care for them. This can be extremely disruptive of your life, but the best method of coping with this change is to maintain patience with your loved one. They need your support through this transitionary phase in their life as they come to terms with the changes that need to take place.

According to SeniorAdvice.com, studies have shown that many older adults fear losing independence more than they fear death. Remaining patient is very important as this process unfolds, but another simple way to help your loved one cope is to be there for conversation. Providing a listening ear to your loved one in concern to their fears and concerns not only brings them comfort, but brings the two of your closer to an understanding of how to handle the situation together.

Perhaps your loved one is still in good enough health to maintain some sort of autonomy. There are solutions that provide a sense of security and assistance to your loved one that still allow for them to remain somewhat independent. Here are two options:

  • Home healthcare: Promotes normalcy, allowing the patient to remain at home and receive care daily or on a more part-time basis from a nurse who comes to them
  • Independent living communities: Offer social benefits and readily available medical care to seniors that can no longer safely live alone, but can still perform many if not most everyday tasks for themselves
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