How To Recognize Signs Of Nursing Home Abuse

There are many instances where, no matter how much you care for your elderly loved one, you’ll have to bring them to a nursing home, especially when you don’t have the physical capacity to provide the level of care they need. 

However, as terrible as it sounds, nursing home abuse is common in some care facilities. If you suspect that your loved one may be experiencing abuse under their care, you might want to gather more helpful hints and report them to the authorities.  

Signs Of Physical Or Sexual Abuse  

Physical abuse may sound easier to detect, as there’s usually physical evidence that you can see on your loved one’s body. However, sometimes, the signs are subtle and not easily noticeable, especially with sexual abuse. 

Watch out for these common signs of physical abuse:  

  • Unexplained and/or repetitive injuries
  • Signs of being restrained (e.g., rope marks on their wrists and ankles)  
  • Broken eyeglasses or any other personal, supportive devices 
  • The caregiver doesn’t allow you to have a private conversation with your loved one 
  • Malnutrition 
  • Infections 
  • Your elderly loved one refuses wound treatment
  • Torn clothes

When you notice any of these signs, speak with the caregiver and your loved one separately. If something seems off or weird, make sure to investigate more.  

Signs Of Emotional Or Psychological Abuse 

If your loved one’s emotional state seems to get worse each time you visit them, you should consult with the caregiver and consider transferring them to a different nursing home.  

Watch out for these common signs of emotional abuse:  

  • Social isolation 
  • Fear around staff 
  • Depression 
  • Anxiety 
  • Changes in behavior (withdrawn, confused)
  • Diminished self-esteem 
  • Loss of interest in their favorite things or activities
  • Sleep troubles

Carefully observe how your loved one communicates with you every time you visit or contact them. Again, suspicious behaviors call for further investigation.  

Signs Of Financial Exploitation 

Financial exploitation often happens when the patient manages their financial accounts, and they somehow get tricked into spending for the benefit of the caregiver, usually without their permission. 

Watch out for these common signs of financial exploitation:

  • Unexplained or unusual bank transactions
  • Unpaid bills
  • Changes in wills, life insurance policies, and property titles that you weren’t informed about
  • Unexplained increase in expenses but your loved one seems neglected  
  • Signatures that look different or appear forged

Make sure you’re authorized to manage or monitor their financial accounts as much as possible. That’s the only way you can help protect your loved one from financial exploitation.

What to do when signs of abuse are detected?

Nursing home employees have a responsibility to provide proper care and attention to their residents. When they fail to do so, victims and their loved ones have the right to seek justice and fair compensation for their damages. Now when you know the common signs of nursing home abuse, it’s time to take immediate actions. Having an experienced and dedicated nursing home abuse attorney will make the process easier for you and your dear one. Along with the lawyer, you’ll gather evidence to identify all responsible parties, and ensure that your loved one is safe and healthy.


Our elderly loved ones need and deserve the best care possible, whether it’s from their family members or their nursing home caregivers. However, once they leave your care, it becomes challenging to guarantee their safety and care. But by frequently visiting them and always being on the lookout for any signs of abuse and neglect, you can determine if they’re in good hands or not, and if you need to make changes or report potential abusers to the authority.


Author: Diana Winston

Diana Winston is a medical malpractice legal associate. She has been assisting victims of malpractice and nursing abuse in New York. As a part of a personal injury law firm, Diana is part of the investigation team. Diana loves music and yoga. She has a terrier dog named Peeble.