Families in Brevard County were reminded of the importance of staying vigilant against elder abuse after the shocking discovery that residents of Trinity Towers senior living facility have been living without air conditioning since April. Despite the management company’s claims that the AC is up and running again, residents are still coping with dangerously hot conditions, and several residents have had to go to the hospital to be treated for heat exhaustion.
The seniors in Trinity Towers are fortunate enough to have family members who are vocal in advocating against these subpar conditions, but many family members of seniors in nursing homes or assisted living facilities aren’t always aware of what constitutes neglect and how to spot it. Physical abuse and other more shocking instances of neglect and elder abuse are easier to spot, but how can families know if their loved ones are living in less obvious but still harmful neglectful situations like substandard facilities?
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All nursing homes and assisted living facilities must provide appropriate food, clothing, and shelter to their seniors. Here are three major signs of neglect in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and senior apartments:
Too Hot or Too Cold
Every nursing home or assisted living facility should keep a comfortable climate for all seniors. In Florida, this means an indoor climate that is air conditioned and dehumidified. As in the case of the seniors in Trinity Towers, elderly family members who live in facilities that do not adequately supply air conditioning are at risk of heat exhaustion, heat stroke, or worse.
Be sure to speak up on behalf of your loved one if the facility feels too hot and humid for you, as the elderly are more severely affected by the heat. Older people have a decrease in perspiration as they age, so they are less able to regulate their body temperature, putting them at an increased likelihood of heat stress.
Improper Air Filtration
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities should have adequately filtered air, especially for those who suffer respiratory problems. Air filtration is essential not only for air quality, but to prevent the grow of mold or mildew as well, which is a major breathing hazard to the elderly.
Stagnant air and black mold are additional issues the seniors at Trinity Towers are facing, explained residents to WFTV.
As seniors experience a decline in their olfaction - or sense of smell - as they age, it is up to their family members to be aware of foul odors that could be caused by mold or poor air filtration and report them accordingly. The smell of mildew - or disinfectants that may be covering up similar foul odors - are often a sign of hygienic neglect. A nursing home with bad conditions may opt to cover up foul odors with disinfectant or sprays rather than address the root issue of air filtration.
Water Damage on Ceiling and Walls
Another sign that your loved one’s residence may be negligently maintained is leaking and staining on the ceilings or walls. This can be caused due to high indoor humidity, as a result of improper climate control, but it can also be caused by leaking plumbing or appliances going ignored. This can weaken the structural integrity of the building over time.
Aside from being a structural issue, it can further encourage the growth of mold or mildew in a senior’s residence. Some residents of Trinity Tower experienced leaking on their ceilings and walls, which may have contributed to the growth of mold and mildew in their apartment.
If you see damp spots and leaks on the ceiling or walls of your loved one’s room that are not repaired or addressed over time, it could be a red flag that the nursing home or senior living facility is neglecting to make needed repairs and maintenance. This could create a situation where, over time, the senior living facility becomes unsafe to live in.
If you suspect that your loved one is living in a substandard and neglectful Melbourne senior living facility, such as a nursing home or assisted living facility, our nursing home abuse lawyers at Morgan & Morgan can help.