What are Some Major Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?

What are Some Major Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
What are Some Major Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?

The elderly in assisted living homes is at risk of being mistreated and abused by their caregivers and the staff working there. Unfortunately, many cases of neglect remain unnoticed or are under-reported and continue to occur for extended periods. This is especially true if the victim is declining cognitively, disabled, or already suffering from depression or PTSD. These issues prevent the elderly from speaking out or reporting when they are mistreated by staff. Moreover, as they get older and frailer, they are less likely to fight back or stand up for themselves if someone physically or verbally attacks them.

One effective way to protect elders from mistreatment or stop it if it’s already happening, is to look out for warning signs in these facilities, or it may continue without the perpetrators facing any consequences. Some of the common signs of mistreatment in assisted living facilities are discussed below.

Physical Abuse

This is using physical force, like kicking, slapping, pushing or burning. When an elderly resident has injuries, pain, distress or even dies, then this could indicate the elder is being mistreated. The signs of physical assault include broken bones, fractures, bruises, and scrapes. The residents may have fractures from being dropped, physically battered, or restrained. Although older people have a higher risk of accidentally slipping and falling, an experienced medical professional can tell the difference between injuries caused by an accident and those caused by physical assault. Victims experiencing physical assault may also withdraw from social situations, get startled easily and have broken possessions like eyeglasses.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault may unfortunately, go unnoticed because many people may find it difficult to accept that it happens. It is very disturbing and the only way to stop it from happening is to know the signs of sexual assault. The signs of sexual assault include bruises on the genitals or breasts, blood on linens or clothing, and changes in the resident’s behavior, especially if a specific person is nearby. Other signs include angry outbursts, social withdrawal, or self-isolation.

Financial Abuse

Financial mistreatment involves manipulating a resident to obtain their consent to access their financial assets. Unfortunately, it commonly occurs in assisted living facilities. Warning signs include missing belongings or money. This is not appropriate and should be taken care of immediately. 

Emotional Mistreatment

Unlike sexual or physical assault which can be obvious, emotional mistreatment is usually subtler. It occurs over an extended period and can make the resident become emotionally, physically, and psychologically fatigued. Signs include being fearful of being left alone, especially with a specific caregiver or withdrawing from social activity. In addition, the resident may refuse to take medication or exhibit repetitive actions like sucking their thumb, rocking back and forth or mumbling.


Signs of neglect include malnutrition and dehydration, frequent infections that cause sepsis, hazardous living conditions and soiled linen or clothes. Moreover, unexplained weight loss, untreated injuries or unclean room can indicate the resident is being neglected. 


If you believe your loved one is being neglected or mistreated in an assisted living facility, you should contact law enforcement officers who can protect your loved one and investigate the matter. In addition, you should contact a nursing home abuse lawyer at Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP in Dallas, TX who can help you explore your legal options concerning the matter. 

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