Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

an elderly man's hands

Over 1.3 million people currently live in nursing homes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). With an aging "baby boomer" population, this number is bound to grow. Sadly, an increased nursing home population equates to an increase in nursing home abuse and neglect.

It's crucial for family members and friends to understand the warning signs of nursing home abuse and neglect. As nursing home employees are frequently the perpetrators of this abuse, the responsibility of recognizing and reporting the incidents of abuse and neglect typically falls on family members or friends. If you suspect someone you love is a victim, contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney as soon as possible.

Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect: A Common Problem

Unfortunately, the problem of nursing home abuse and neglect might be more common than most people think. Studies used by the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) reveal that 10 percent of all nursing home residents have experienced some form of abuse in the last year. To make matters even more concerning, this information, along with other studies examined by the NCEA, indicates that only a small portion of nursing home abuse incidents are ever reported.

Nursing home residents may experience many types of abuse or injury, including:

  • Physical abuse

  • Sexual abuse

  • Emotional abuse

  • Neglect or abandonment

  • Financial exploitation

  • Healthcare fraud

Signs to Be Aware Of

If you have a family member or a friend who resides in long-term care or an assisted living facility, you should be aware of and on the lookout for the following common signs of abuse and neglect. However, the warning signs can vary from one person to the next and from one situation to the next. Warning signs may not be typical or what you would expect for a particular situation. Both the Administration on Aging (AOA) and the National Institute on Aging advise looking for the following changes that may indicate abuse or injury.

Signs of Physical, Emotional, or Sexual Abuse

  • New injuries or physical conditions with no adequate explanation, for example, broken bones, sprained joints, and bruises or burns

  • Sudden changes in behavior

  • Withdrawal from social situations and activities

  • A caregiver refuses to allow family or friends access to see or talk to the individual

  • A caregiver who is verbally uncaring, demeaning, or aggressive

  • A new diagnosis of an unexplained sexually transmitted disease

  • Bruising, swelling, or other signs of trauma around the genitals

Signs of Neglect

  • A lack of personal hygiene 

  • An unexpectedly dirty living space

  • Frequently soiled clothing or bedding 

  • Bedsores or ulcers

Signs of Financial Exploitation or Healthcare Fraud

  • The inability to explain personal financial transactions

  • Giving excessive and unexpected gifts to non-family members

  • Unexpected or seemingly unnecessary medical treatments or equipment

  • Billing insurers or medical providers for health care services that were never provided

Contact Salam & Associates for a Free Consultation

If you notice any of these signs or have a gut feeling that something isn't right with a nursing home resident, the time to act is now. When you reach out to a knowledgeable Nursing home abuse attorney, they can help you take the necessary steps to get your loved one to safety and hold the appropriate individuals accountable for their actions.  Contact us online at or [email protected] to schedule a free nursing home abuse case review today.


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