When we think of nursing home abuse, a few common images enter our heads: an elderly man suffering from bedsores, a neglected senior tied down with restraints, an unsanitary room, or a verbally or physically abusive nursing home staff member. However, there are much more subtle types of nursing home abuse that may be easy to overlook. For example, hundreds of nursing home residents across Virginia (VA) and West Virginia (WV) are the victims of nursing home and assisted living overmedication.

Overmedication of elderly patients serves several purposes for nursing homes. Patients who may struggle with memory problems, dementia, or other behavioral problems can be overmedicated so that they will not “cause trouble.” In other cases, patients may be overmedicated simply so that the negligent staff of the nursing home will not have to bother with patients who are awake or mobile.




In still other cases, patients may be overmedicated so that they cannot communicate their other abuses to visiting friends or family members. Nursing home patients may be overmedicated so that they can be taken advantage of – through nursing home physical abuse, nursing home verbal abuse, or nursing home sexual abuse. Staff members may even be using medication to take advantage of their patient’s financially.

If you think that a loved one may be suffering from nursing home overmedication, look for warning signs:

· Your loved one acts more distant than usual or spends much of the day sleeping or in a stupor.

· Staff members avoid questions related to your loved one’s medications or medical history.

· Your loved one suddenly seems glazed over or in another world when he or she is usually awake and alert.

· Indifference toward your loved one by nurses or staff members.

· Other changes in behavior, such as eating patterns, sleeping patterns, or general mood.

In order to find out more about what medications your loved one is on and why, ask questions and get involved. The overmedication of seniors can significantly lower their quality of life – not to mention lead to serious health problems and even death.