Nursing homes often provide great care for its residents, but not always. Find out the 10 signs of nursing home abuse and neglect to look out for here.

Putting the care of your aging parent into the hands of someone else is incredibly difficult.

There’s a lot of questions to consider:

  • Will your parent feel safe? Afraid? Comfortable?
  • Will the staff pay enough attention to your parent?
  • Will your parent get everything they need?
  • Can you trust the nursing home and its staff?

Nursing homes can be amazing places, but the scary thing is, we never really know what goes on behind closed doors. You cannot afford to expose your parent to nursing home abuse and neglect.

Thankfully, in the age of technology, we have access to nearly everything through the internet. You can do a fair amount of research into any nursing home – reviews, testimonials, lawsuits, etc.

However, there are signs of abuse and neglect you can personally watch for if your parent is in a nursing home.

How Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Happens

While most nursing homes put a lot of time and effort into providing safe, clean, and loving environments, they can’t always control everything going on within its walls.

Additionally, 90% of nursing homes are understaffed. The nurses and CNAs do everything they can to provide quality care, but it becomes easy to cut corners and skip out on important procedures.

Remember, however, that one bad employee doesn’t mean the entire nursing home is bad. Although, you and your loved one are still entitled to reparation. A nursing home abuse lawyer can help compensate you and your family and ensure future abuse doesn’t happen.

Physical Signs of Abuse

The physical signs of abuse are easy to spot but can be easily misconstrued. As we get older, our skin becomes more delicate. It bruises and tears much easier.

Additionally, many elderly people have a harder time standing and walking on their own. Even with the aid of walkers, canes, and wheelchairs, nursing home residents frequently lose their balance or strength and fall.

These falls can lead to major bruises, cuts, broken bones, and head injuries and are not always indicative of nursing home abuse and neglect.

If your parent is still mentally lucid, you can have a discussion with them. They may be the best source of information.

However, there are some physical indicators that point to abuse as well.

Unexplained Bruises and Cuts

While the elderly do have more delicate skin, still pay attention to cuts and bruising. Accidents happen, but excessive and frequent bruising may be a sign that your parent is being physically abused.

Unexplained Broken Bones

Broken bones can happen easily during falls. However, if your parent is reluctant to tell you what happened or seems to be afraid, it could point to abuse.

Falls are often accidental, but can also be caused by a neglectful or abusive staff member. There

Restraint Marks

In nursing homes, it’s illegal to use restraints on a resident unless it’s for their safety or the safety of others. They are not allowed to be used for any other purpose.

Restraint marks on your parent’s body, especially if you know them to be docile, is a big red flag.

Asphyxiation Marks

At no point is there ever a reason for your parent to have marks on their neck indicative of being choked. If you see asphyxiation marks, you need to take action immediately as this is a screaming red flag for nursing home abuse and neglect.

Emotional Signs of Abuse

Sometimes, emotional signs abuse can be just as telling as physical signs. These signs, however, are a little more difficult to navigate, as many residents of nursing homes have a deteriorating cognitive function and are prone to odd behaviors.

However, you know your parent and should be able to recognize anything abnormal.

Fear of a Certain Staff Member

While some women don’t want male caretakers for no other reason than being old-fashioned, a fear of an individual caretaker is a serious warning sign.

Male or female, if your parent says they don’t want a certain caretaker to help them, it may point to an abusive staff member. Additionally, if the express anxiety or hesitancy about being left alone with a staff member, it may be cause for concern.


Depression can be caused by many things for your parent – change of environment, culture shock, boredom, loneliness, etc. However, if they inexplicably develop depression, it could be indicative of nursing home abuse and neglect.

Change of Behavior

Other changes in behavior such as anxiety, nervousness, isolation, and disinterest in hobbies could be a result of experiencing abuse.

These changes in behavior, especially without cause, are a strong reason for concern.

Signs of Neglect

Make no mistake, neglect is just as unacceptable as physical and emotional abuse. Sometimes, people see neglect as accidental or less severe, but it can have major repercussions for your parent’s physical and mental well-being.


Dehydration is a very serious issue of neglect which could have a myriad of negative side effects. These side effects include confusion, low blood pressure, rapid heart rate, dizziness, and headaches.

Poor Hygiene

If you frequently notice your parent has poor hygiene, it may be a sign of nursing home abuse and neglect.

While a nursing home resident doesn’t need to bathe every day, basic hygiene needs, such as teeth, hair, nails, peritoneal areas, and underarms should still be met.

Bed Sores

Some nursing home residents become chair and bed-ridden after time. These residents require constant repositioning for comfort and health purposes.

Neglect in repositioning can quickly lead to bed sores and severe discomfort including cramps and stiffness.

Constant UTIs

Urinary tract infections are slightly more common in nursing homes due to incontinence in its residents. However, with proper peritoneal care, residents shouldn’t experience them too much.

Constant UTIs could be a sign of nursing home abuse and neglect, stemming from residents sitting in used adult diapers too long.

Rapid Weight Loss

If your parent seems to be losing weight quickly and without explanation, it could easily be due to neglect. They may be going without meals or being rushed through them.

Alternatively, nursing home abuse and neglect can also lead to a decreased appetite and may be a result of depression or anxiety.

Moving Forward After Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect.

After a loved one experiences nursing home abuse and neglect, it can be hard for everyone involved to ever trust a caregiver again.

So how do you move forward?

First, you need to make sure your loved one is safe. Then, you need to sit down with the nursing home management and have a discussion about what’s been going on and what they’re going to do about it. Finally, you can decide if you want to move your loved one out of there. Betterhelp Therapists can help patients through recovery.

Additionally, you can pursue legal recourse if you desire, but your loved one’s safety is your primary concern.

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