Increased Risk of Elder Abuse Around the Holidays

December 16, 2020

The holidays are the busiest time of year, and it is important not to neglect people who need the most help. Elderly family members can be at significant risk since they do not tolerate the cold as well, and they are also prone to slipping on ice or snow. Furthermore, nursing homes can be understaffed, and family members may be busy with holiday preparations. Elderly loved ones may not get the care they need during the holiday season.

What are the Signs of Elder Abuse and Neglect?

Signs of nursing home abuse and neglect can be obvious or more subtle. Bruising, weight loss, broken bones, significant confusion, poor dental health, and scars could be signs of abuse and neglect. Other signs include bedsores, not being clean or appropriately dressed, unsanitary living conditions, and significant depression or anger.

Financial abuse is just as serious as physical abuse. Many elderly people have been taken advantage of by their caregivers. Not all of the abuse and neglect is intentional, but the problem exacerbates when there are staff shortages and no one checking in on loved ones.

How can I Help My Loved One?

It is a good idea to speak with the caregiver or nursing home to set some parameters to prepare for the holidays. Family members can speak to staff members to ensure that there will be adequate personnel, consistent meals, and personal services. Asking about holiday events and extended visiting hours is also important. A family can also check to see if their loved one is getting enough monitored physical activity.

Also, keep in mind that the holidays are a time to increase visits to elderly friends and relatives. Fewer staff members can mean more negligence, so checking in frequently is essential. Now is the time to look for signs of abuse and negligence, and this includes the person as well as their living environment. Their home or room should be clean, safe, and accessible at all times. Pitching in to pick up debris from the floor, changing the sheets, doing the laundry, or cleaning the bathroom are all important tasks.

Elderly family members should also have warm clothes for the colder weather, such as a nice blanket and good shoes. Family members can also bring prepared food and take their loved ones out for a few hours as long as it is safe to do so. If the elderly person has no interest in outside activities, it could be a sign of depression.

What Should I Do if I Cannot Visit My Loved One?

It is more difficult to visit frequently when family members do not live nearby. In these cases, daily phone calls or video chats can help; callers can stay alert for any signs of distress. There are also volunteer organization that have people who can look in on elderly loved ones from time to time, so this may be worth looking into as well. If abuse is suspected, a family member should contact a lawyer as soon as possible.

Delaware County Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Fight for the Rights of Abused Nursing Home Residents

If you suspect that an elderly relative is being neglected or abused, contact one of our Delaware County nursing home abuse lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 610-565-3701. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.