When you have to help an elderly family member move into a nursing home or other senior living facility, it's natural to have concerns about their care, safety, health and well-being -- all of which the staff and management bear responsibility for. You may not consider that your loved one could be at risk of harm from another resident.
People who are prone to aggression and bad behavior don't necessarily change their ways when they hit their senior years. In fact, having to live in close quarters with others, with little, if any, independence or control over their lives, can exacerbate anger issues. The effects of various medications and cognitive decline can impact a person's behavior as well.
It should come as no surprise that conflicts among residents erupt. Sometimes a resident will bully others. In some cases, there may be physical assaults.
Those who work in senior living facilities need to know how to deal with conflicts between residents. An executive with one Brookdale Senior Living site acknowledges that "teaching staff members how to deal with conflict is crucial."
Just as teachers do with students who don't get along, she says that sometimes it's a matter of separating residents who get into conflicts and talking to each of them. If a resident is constantly bullying or having difficulty with other residents, staff members and administrators need to watch them carefully and alert their family to the problem.
If a resident's behavior has taken a sudden turn for the worse, a psychiatric evaluation could be required. These facilities can evict a resident who continues to pose a risk to residents, staff and/or themselves.
If you believe that a loved one is being abused -- verbally, emotionally and or physically -- in a senior care facility by another resident, it's essential to alert those in charge. Find out what their plan of action is, and make sure that they are following through with steps to protect your loved one. If you learn that a family member has been harmed by another resident or that the harm is ongoing, it may be wise to determine what legal options you have to hold the facility responsible.