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PHOENIX, AZ, October 07, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Many times, moving your loved one into a nursing home is not their decision, but yours. It's a hard decision, but you believe you made it in their best interest, trying to make sure they got the care and attention they needed to be not only healthy, but happy.
Now, though, you are worried because your loved one is suffering from changes in behavior. Fearfulness, withdrawal, and depression have made your loved one seem very unhappy at their new nursing home. Here are some tips for dealing with this new development.
Give It Time
First, it would be unrealistic to expect your loved one to adapt to their new surroundings overnight. A change of this magnitude is going to take some time to adjust to. In fact, many experts say that a good adjustment period is about six months, and if there are any problems with the living arrangements, it may take up to a year for full adjustment.
In the meantime, new nursing home residents may go through many angry or hostile emotions, such as anger and denial and may act out. They may also experience many emotions that stem from their feelings of helplessness, such as depression, fearfulness, or withdrawal.
Being supportive means many things, such as making sure you visit your loved one regularly during this challenging transition and giving your loved one positive words during your visit.
It also means supporting the nursing home staff in its efforts to help your loved one adjust. Encourage your loved one to participate in some of the numerous activities the nursing home has to offer, including social opportunities. Having a friend at the nursing home will help your loved one to feel more welcome and normal in the environment.
When There May Be Trouble
Sometimes, though, your loved one's behavioral changes are a sign that there is real trouble, such as nursing home abuse. Figuring out when this is the case can be difficult, but in general, you should take note when behavior changes come after your loved one seemed to be successfully adapted to the nursing home.
Also look for other signs of abuse, such as unexplained injuries, missing items from your loved one's possessions, and increased anxiety in the presence of one or more members of the nursing home staff. Taking your loved one out of the nursing home, when possible, is a good first step in getting them to open up about what's going on.
If you strongly suspect nursing home abuse, you should contact the Long Term Care Ombudsman for help addressing your concerns. If abuse exists, you may consider a lawsuit against the nursing home.
To learn more about your legal rights and options if your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse, please visit the website of Cullan & Cullan, MD, JD at www.stopnursinghomeabuse.org.
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