How a Simple Hug Can Raise a Red Flag About Nursing Home Abuse

Posted on: 25 January 2019

When you visit your elderly parent in a nursing home, it's common to greet him or her with a hug. Although dementia patients might not always be keen on this type of contact, a hug is usually a part of your visit to the home. This common gesture is simple, but don't discount its value in terms of potentially making you aware that abuse might be going on. Should you suspect abuse, talk to your parent immediately and involve local law enforcement. You'll also want to consult a nursing home abuse attorney who frequently handles elder abuse cases so that you can take legal action against the home. Here are some things that you may notice as you hug your parent.

Your Parent Feels Malnourished

An example of nursing home abuse that is all too common is malnourishment. It's abusive to fail to feed a resident what he or she needs to maintain a healthy body and mind. When you hug your parent, you might notice that he or she appears thinner than usual. This is something that can often be difficult to discern visually as your parent could be wearing thick clothing or clothing that is baggy. Notice whether your parent's shoulders jut out or if his or her spine is easy to detect with your hands. These can be cues of severe malnourishment.

Your Parent Seems Jumpy

You should expect your parent to receive your embrace warmly, but you may notice that he or she appears somewhat jumpy. Perhaps your parent flinches a little when you make contact, for example. It's possible that you just caught him or her off guard, but it's also possible that sexual abuse — one of the most egregious forms of elder abuse — could be at play. Sexual abuse victims are often frightened by physical contact. You should be leery about broaching this subject with your parent, but you shouldn't hesitate to take action if you notice other potential signs of sexual abuse.

Your Parent's Body Language Indicates Pain

You'll know exactly how tightly you should hug your parent, which means that if he or she reacts as though the hug is painful, it's a reason to be concerned. There are many reasons that your parent could experience pain during a hug. For example, he or she might have bumps and bruises from physical abuse, or it's possible that he or she could have bedsores from being left in bed in one position for too long.