If your parent has become the resident of an Illinois nursing home, you likely spend a fair amount of time worrying about whether or not (s)he is getting the care (s)he needs and deserves. Unfortunately, sometimes you have cause for concern.

While most nursing homes do their best to provide excellent care to their residents, NextAvenue.org warns that you should always be vigilant when you visit your parent to make sure that (s)he shows no signs of nursing home abuse or neglect.

Injuries

Naturally, you should never see cuts or bruises anywhere on your parent’s body. Nor should you see any skin breakdowns or pressure sores. Any kind of injury should immediately set off alarm bells in your mind, and you need to find out what happened and how it happened.

Personal and environmental hygiene

Every time you visit your parent, (s)he should present a clean, odor-free appearance. His or her hair should be neatly combed, fingernails and toenails appropriately trimmed, and (s)he should always be adequately and appropriately dressed. His or her room, especially the bathroom, should likewise be clean and ordered, with no hint of dirt, mold or odor.

Nutrition and hydration

Your parent should always appear well-fed and properly hydrated. Neither his or her lips nor skin should appear overly dry or chapped. If (s)he has any complaints about the food, do not simply pass this off as grumpiness. Listen to what (s)he has to say. (S)he could have a legitimate issue.

Psychological wellbeing

While no one enjoys living in a nursing home, your parent nevertheless should appear reasonably content with his or her living arrangement. If (s)he complains about particular caregivers or particular other residents, again, do not simply attribute this to grumpiness. Listen carefully to his or her complaints. They may indicate a neglect or abuse situation. Your parent likewise should not appear overly depressed, worried or concerned about anything. (S)he should talk with you easily and clearly.

Unfortunately, many elderly people suffer from illnesses or conditions that make neglect and abuse all too possible. If your parent suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or some other cognitive disorder, you need to be his or her advocate.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.