The holidays are an ideal time to visit family members who live in a nursing home. However, you should not limit your visits to going and seeing your loved ones only during the holiday season. Seniors who live in nursing homes need to see friends and family year round to maintain their social connections and to have the highest possible quality of life.
There is also another important reason why you should not only go and see your loved one in a nursing home over the holidays, but should also make it your New Years resolution to visit regularly throughout the whole of next year. The reason: prevention of abuse and neglect.
Review Journal reported recently that as many as 60 percent of seniors who live within a nursing home or skilled care facility don't get visitors on a regular basis. Some get no visitors at all. These seniors face substantially increased risks of abuse and neglect because visitors are a key line of defense in preventing the mistreatment of elderly nursing home residents.
Visitors can help to reduce the risks of abuse and neglect in nursing homes for many different reasons, including the following:
- Visitors can identify signs of problems: When you go and visit a loved one in a nursing home, you can see if there is something wrong. If your loved one has lost a lot of weight without explanation, has pressure sores, has unexplained bruising or cuts, or is wearing torn or unclean clothing, you can spot these signs of trouble and take prompt action. For a resident of a nursing home who has no visitors, there may be no one to notice the red flags.
- Visitors can be told of abuse. Some seniors in nursing homes do not know how to stop abusive behavior which is affecting their lives. Seniors may be scared to report the abuse to nursing home administrators and may not know how to get in touch with authorities. If they don't have regulator visitors, there is no one for the abused senior to tell. If family is coming to visit regularly, on the other hand, the abused senior could let his visitors know right away if something has gone wrong.
- Staff knows who gets visitors. Review Journal warned about the increased risk of abuse and neglect affecting seniors who do not get regular visitors. Staff members know who doesn't have family coming, and can use this information to determine who to commit intentional abuse against
- The squeaky wheel gets the grease: Review Journal also indicated that neglect and abuse can be prevented when visitors come because the visitor can speak up and demand better care. A senior with no visitors does not have an advocate to insist that staff members are receptive to caring for his needs.
You want your loved one to be safe from abuse in a nursing home, so be sure to visit during the holiday season AND beyond!