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Visiting mom or dad in their care facility has been a regular part of your routine. When they first moved to a nursing home you were beyond grateful that staff was always available to help with daily tasks your loved one could no longer do for themselves — using the bathroom, eating meals, taking their daily pills and more. But after your last few visits, you aren’t feeling as confident in the care they are receiving.

The last time you were with your parent, you had to take them to the doctor because they weren’t feeling well. It turns out their blood sugar was very low, which technically shouldn’t happen because your parent has manageable type 1 diabetes. You’ve also picked up that their regular, upbeat attitude isn’t shining like it used to.

You are aware that nursing home neglect and abuse is a real and growing problem across the country. And you believe it’s possible that poorly trained staff members simply aren’t catering to your parents’ needs. But how do you ask your parent if they are truly okay?

Since aging can take a toll on an individual, you don’t want to seem insensitive to any pain they are feeling when it comes to losing their independence and losing friends and family to old age. At the same time, it’s best not to avoid the fact that their own physical and emotional well-being could be suffering.

To prepare for a conversation regarding potential neglect or abuse, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Lead with your heart: Keep the conversation as honest as possible and remind them you are only checking in because you care for them.
  • Speak up: Voice your concerns about neglect with the leaders of the care facility. And ask your parent’s doctors if they can investigate the signs that you’ve gathered to determine if they’re at risk.
  • Seek professional help: If the signs are clear as day, then consider seeking legal representation and reporting the incident to the Adult Protective Services in Kentucky to prevent future cases of neglect.

At the end of the day, it’s always a better choice to be overprotective than to ignore the signs and therefore contribute to the neglect.