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Signs of nursing home abuse

Are you concerned that an elderly friend or loved one is not being treated correctly? As your parents and other family members age, choosing a nursing home becomes a difficult decision. Unfortunately , elder abuse is a serious issue, and it can occur at nursing homes. Although you may have suspicions, sometimes neglect and abuse are not easy to detect. If you are worried about an elderly person in your life, learn the signs of abuse.

Physical signs

Common red flags that an elderly person is being physically abused include the following:

  • Bruises
  • Broken bones
  • Abrasions
  • Burns
  • Frequent falls


Often, these signs are unexplained or come along with strange explanations. While these events can certainly occur due to natural causes and accidents, sometimes they can be a clue to abusive behavior.

Emotional signs

Perhaps the most difficult red flag to notice is verbal and emotional abuse. There is no clear physical indication as there is with physical abuse. Some signs include withdrawal from social activities, depression, nervous behavior, forced isolation and a strained relationship with the caregiver.

Signs of neglect

Sometimes mistreatment of elders is not due to actions taken but actions that are not taken. For instance, a caregiver may not assist the person with bathing, getting dressed or taking medication. These are some of the signs of neglect:

  • Poor hygiene
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Bedsores
  • Lack of necessary medical attention


Neglect may not be intentional. It often happens because a caregiver is untrained or overburdened. This does not negate the real negative consequences of neglect.

Sexual abuse signs

As horrible as it is, sexual abuse among seniors happens. Attackers see elderly people as vulnerable and easy to victimize. If you notice bruises around the person's breasts or genital area, signs of venereal disease, difficulty standing or walking, or an exceptionally flirty caregiver, these could be red flags that sexual abuse is taking place. Withdrawing from usual activities and a sudden change in personality can be from sexual abuse as well.

What to do

You only want the best for your loved one, and coming to terms with the fact that your aging parent or sibling may be experiencing abuse is difficult. Unfortunately, neglect, abuse and medical malpractice can occur in nursing homes. Whether the abuse is intentional or negligent, it can have serious consequences, and your loved ones need to be protected. Consulting with a personal injury attorney can help your loved one get the representation and protection he or she needs.

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