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You depend on the nursing home to take good care of your elderly loved one. Unfortunately, though, nursing home abuse and neglect happen at almost alarming rates. In fact, according to the National Council on Aging, as many as 10% of older Americans are victims of abuse or neglect.

Nursing home abuse and neglect come in many different forms. Therefore, it is important to monitor your elderly relative’s care diligently. If you see signs of malnutrition and dehydration, you must act quickly to protect your loved one’s life.

Nutritional requirements

A person’s nutritional requirements change as he or she ages. Similarly, if your relative has certain medical conditions, he or she may need to follow a strict diet. Nursing home staff should consider the dietary requirements of all residents and create a menu that addresses them. Also, nurses and others at the facility should ensure every resident drinks enough fluids throughout the day.

Signs of malnutrition

Nursing home residents may consume fewer calories than their younger family members. Still, it is important for your aging loved one to eat a balanced diet. If you see any of the following signs, your relative may be suffering from malnutrition:

  • Weight loss
  • Appetite loss
  • Irritability, anger or depression
  • Frequent illnesses
  • Long recovery times

Signs of dehydration

Regardless of a person’s age, dehydration can be deadly. With nursing home residents, though, dehydration often worsens medical conditions, such as pneumonia and urinary tract infections. Here are some signs your loved one may not be consuming enough water to be healthy:

  • Dark or foul-smelling urine
  • Dizziness, headaches and nausea
  • Confusion
  • Low blood pressure
  • Elevated heart rate

While it is normal to depend on a nursing home to safeguard your elderly loved one’s health, you must realize the dangers of malnutrition and dehydration. Watching for signs of these types of nursing home neglect is a good way to protect your aging relative.