Placing your loved one into the care of professional caregivers, whether they come to the residence, or your loved one is placed in a nursing home, can be a nerve-wracking affair. It is a tough decision that you have to make, but you only want the best for their care. You did your research and found a service or facility that meets your loved one's needs. You met with the caregiver and signed the paper, confident that the professionals can do it competently. However, the people you sign with may not ultimately be the caregivers that work with the patient.
While there are many caregiver professionals who go above and beyond, unfortunately, there are those who do not have the best intentions. The National Center on Elder Abuse reported in 2011 that 1 in 13 older adults (age 60+) were victims of elder abuse. Elder abuse can include physical, psychological, verbal, or sexual abuse, financial exploration, and neglect.
Earlier this year, a man in Michigan suspected that his father was being abused in the nursing home: Mr. Hussein Younes had bruising, cuts, and significant weight loss. His son, Salim Younes, placed a hidden camera in an alarm clock by his father's bedside. He was horrified to find over 100 clips documenting neglectful behavior towards Salim's father. The family removed Hussein from the nursing home and has filed a lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges that caretakers physically abused Hussein and verbally abused him with ethnic slurs. The nursing home in question gave a statement that the employees in the video clips were fired and the remaining staff underwent additional training.
Hidden cameras can help you gather evidence of elder abuse, but it is not the only effective way. Covert cameras are ideal for cases of physical, verbal, and sexual abuse, but it can be hard to prove financial exploitation and psychological abuse without the help of a professional. A licensed private investigator that specializes in elder abuse can help you gather evidence.
Inspect the nursing home. As a representative of your family, a private investigator has the right to visit and check on the care of your loved one. A private investigator who specializes in elder abuse cases knows what to look for: The condition of the room, including the bedsheets and linens, the cleanliness and order of the space. The investigator will observe how the patient interacts with the staff: Is the patient scared, nervous, or timid?
Interview your loved one. Private investigators will check on the physical condition of your loved one, noting any weight loss, checking for bruises, cuts, broken bones, missing patches of hair, or bite marks. They will speak to the patient and assess their well-being: Have they eaten today? Did they take their medication? Are they feeling well?
Conduct surveillance. Do you suspect your caregivers are not arriving as scheduled for your loved one's home? A private investigator can conduct surveillance to confirm that caregivers are adhering to their schedule and best practices. A licensed private investigator can also assist you in finding the right hidden cameras that you can place in the home or nursing homeroom.
Asset search and financial investigations. Licensed private investigators can perform background investigations, including searches into a person's finances. If you suspect someone is exploiting your loved one's finances, a private investigator can see what assets are available and if any have been transferred to the person in question.
Make sure you look for the following when retaining a private investigator: