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4 tips for talking to your aging parent about nursing home abuse

If you are like many adult children, you probably agonized over talking to your elderly mother or father about moving into a nursing home. That is understandable, as it can be unbelievably heartbreaking to ask a loved one to give up personal freedom. Discussing whether to move into a long-term care facility may not be the toughest talk you ever have to have, though. 

Nursing home abuse is more common than you probably think. In fact, as many as 5 million elderly Americans are the victims of abuse or neglect every single year. As you may imagine, an aging parent may feel shame and helplessness after abuse. Getting your aging mother or father to tell you about abuse or neglect can be challenging. Here are four tips for talking to your aging parent about nursing home abuse: 

1. Stay on her or his level 

If your parents need extensive care, it can be easy to forget they are capable of having tough conversations. When you put your mother or father on a lower intellectual level, you encourage shutting down. 

2. Understand the awkwardness 

Moving into a nursing home is a big deal. Your parent may not have time to cope with the stress of the move before the abuse starts. If you can be both empathetic and understanding, your aging mother or father may be more likely to open up to you. 

3. Table the discussion 

It may take your loved one minutes, hours, days or weeks to completely tell you about abuse or neglect at the nursing home. While you may want to gather information quickly, pushing your mother or father may be a big mistake. Therefore, table the discussion when it becomes unproductive. Remember, you can always visit the issue again later. 

4. Ask caring questions 

Your elderly parent may not realize there is abuse at the nursing home. Instead of directly inquiring about treatment, ask specific questions about care. Further, if you notice a scrape or bruise, casually ask your aging loved one how it happened. With gentle questions, you may obtain more information quickly. 

You want your mother or father to receive the best possible care. While living in a nursing home may be necessary for your elderly parent, you should not have to worry about abuse or neglect. By regularly interacting with your loved one, you increase your chances of advocating effectively for proper care.

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