You may believe that your elderly loved one is not receiving the treatment that he or she deserves and requires in a long-term care facility. If so, he or she may be the victim of elder neglect. According to the National Adult Protective Services Association, neglect occurs when someone does not receive adequate attention to his or her basic needs and comes to harm as a result.
Elder neglect can occur in many different settings and take many forms. Some forms may be more likely to occur in the setting of a care facility than others.
Staff at a care facility may commit neglect of your loved one by discounting his or her emotional needs. This can involve infantilizing your loved one, i.e., treating him or her as a child and not showing a baseline level of respect and dignity. It could also involve belittling, e.g., telling your loved one that his or her needs are not important, or ignoring them altogether. This can cause anguish or emotional distress.
Many elderly adults in long-term care centers are there because they can no longer manage simple activities of daily living, such as feeding, grooming or bathing themselves. Physical neglect occurs when the people tasked with meeting these needs, in this case, the staff at the facility, do not fulfill their responsibilities.
Physical neglect can result in sudden or unexplained weight loss due to malnutrition. Your loved one may wear soiled clothing or appear unkempt. Bedsores suggest the possibility of physical neglect but are not conclusive proof of it on their own.