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10 Signs of Potential Nursing Home Abuse

By Ephrat Livni, Esq. | Last updated on

The Department of Justice estimates that one in ten elderly people are abused each year. The abuse takes many forms -- financial, sexual, mental, and physical. If you have a parent or loved one in elder care, you need to be aware of ways they may be in danger.

We do not want to believe that people we trust to care for our aged would harm them. But the elderly are very vulnerable when they are in nursing homes and visitors should be vigilant. Neglect and abuse occur. Here are some signs to help you spot care gone wrong.

Signs of Nursing Home Neglect

Not all of the issues listed below are necessarily caused by neglect or abuse. But knowing what to watch out for is helpful, and if you see many of these signs manifesting, it may be time to do more than just question and call for help.

  • Sudden weight loss
  • Bedsores, or pressure ulcers
  • Injuries from nursing home falls
  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Withdrawal or changes in behavior
  • Lack of personal hygiene or changes to appearance
  • Limited exchange with staff
  • Limited socialization with nursing home residents
  • Environmental hazards, including poor lighting, slippery floors, unsafe equipment or furniture

Elder Abuse

Elder abuse is unfortunately common and particularly difficult to uncover. What if a medical provider is billing for care it is not providing? How do you know if your aunt just slipped and fell because she is old and frail or if the nursing home has really neglected its duties?

You can rarely be sure but it is better to be safe than sorry if you see some warning sign of neglect or abuse. Speak to the staff and don't accuse. But do try to ascertain what is happening and to signal that you are engaged and aware. Make it clear that someone cares what happens to this elderly person. And if necessary, speak to authorities.

Speak to a Lawyer

If you believe that someone you know is being abused in a nursing home, speak to an attorney. Counsel will consult with you, hear your story, and assess your claim. Get help.

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