While many long-term care facilities provide conscientious, compassionate and competent care to elderly residents, abuse and neglect occur with distressing frequency. Your elderly loved one can come to harm as a result of either abuse or neglect, but they are different in that abuse implies a willful act against your loved one, while neglect means failure to meet his or her needs.
According to the National Adult Protective Services Association, there are several types of neglect. If you have an elderly loved one in a nursing home, you may see signs of either emotional or physical neglect more often than any of the other types.
Like all human beings, your elderly loved one has emotional needs. Nursing home staff may neglect these needs by either ignoring them or belittling them. Isolation from family and friends can result in emotional neglect, but if a nursing home staff member is taking active steps to prevent you from seeing your loved one, this may cross the line into abuse.
Part of the responsibility of a nursing home is to meet the basic needs of its residents, such as nutrition, medical care, personal care and grooming. If your loved one does not receive enough food, necessary medications, bandage changes or baths, the nursing home is neglecting his or her physical needs.
Do not second-guess yourself if you suspect that a nursing home is neglecting an elderly resident. It is not your responsibility to investigate to confirm the neglect. Your responsibility is to report the abuse to the entity or organization with the authority and resources to conduct the investigation.