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The Most Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

An elderly man at a table with his head leaning on one hand

As our family members age, medical issues, limited mobility, and decreasing self-sufficiency often contribute to the need for a caregiver. In some cases, an at-home nurse is the best option, while other families opt for a nursing home. Either way, the intention is to ensure an elderly person’s medical, nutritional, hygienic, and emotional needs are met.

Fully relying on the care of another person makes older people especially vulnerable to abuse and neglect. The symptoms of mistreatment can be exhibited as physical or behavioral responses. If your elderly loved one lives in a nursing home or is otherwise under the care of another person, be aware of the following signs of abuse and neglect:

  • Physical abuse — Bone fractures, burns, bruises, welts, lacerations
  • Sexual abuse — Sexually transmitted diseases, bruising or bleeding in the genital region
  • Emotional abuse and social neglect — Appearing withdrawn, irritable, combative, defensive, anxious, depressed, or any other behavioral changes
  • Financial abuse — Unusual purchases, back account withdrawals, stolen money or items, unexplained financial loss or growth, changes to authorized users on credit cards, new power of attorney, adjustments on important documents (wills, deeds, titles, etc.)
  • Hygienic and general neglect — Bed sores, uncleanly appearance, dirty clothes and bedding, inadequate heating/air conditioning
  • Medical neglect — Untreated medical conditions, worsening injuries or illnesses, infections, signs of an overdose (chest pain, trouble breathing, nausea and vomiting, behavioral changes, convulsions)
  • Nutritional neglect — Weight loss or gain, unexplained illness, signs of dehydration (weakness, headaches, drowsiness, irritability, dry skin)

Any form of abuse or neglect can manifest in different ways, and many of these symptoms listed above apply to other types of elderly exploitation. Some signs of abuse, such as changes in sleep patterns, weight fluctuations, unexplained medical conditions, and anxious or withdrawn behavior, are universal indicators that something is wrong. As the family of an elderly person, you should be aware of any abnormalities in their appearance, wellbeing, and emotional state.

If you believe an older person in your life is being abused or neglected, contact the team of attorneys at Ross & Pines as soon as possible. Send us a message or call (888) 838-4858 to schedule a free consultation with our firm.