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You’ve recently entrusted the total care of your parent to a nursing home. You still call and visit as much as possible. But you’re under the impression — as you should be — that you don’t need to make sure your elderly parents receive both basic needs and respect.

The devastating reality is millions of elderly Americans are abused each year. Making sure your parents are receiving proper care is a difficult, but necessary process. When the evidence is clear, you can partner with an experienced attorney to protect your loved ones.

Know the signs

Elder abuse comes in many forms. Sometimes the impacts are internal, while other times the signs are clear as day. This is because, like any other abuse, elder abuse can be both physical and emotional.

One type of emotional abuse is psychological abuse, which can include repeated instances where nursing home staff yells at a resident or consistent neglect. Some indicators of mental abuse include depression, sudden personality changes and constant fear.

The abuse can also be physical. Some ways nursing home staff members physically abuse elders, include shoving or administering medication not prescribed by the resident’s doctor. If your loved one can’t explain new cuts or bruises or refuses medical attention, then they could be a victim of physical abuse.

Plan an intervention

As your parent or elder, your loved one who lives in a nursing home has probably spent many years of their lives taking care of you. Consequently, they might be ashamed or scared to admit they aren’t doing alright during your regular, open conversations. To combat this, you can have neutral, third party help with or guide a thoughtful intervention, like a doctor or professional mediator.

If you’ve exhausted all efforts to check in with your loved one and they still aren’t cooperative, you can call on the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

The hope is that the intervention will fall flat, but any sign of mistreatment is grounds for investigation so your loved one can live many more fulfilling years.