Nursing Home Abuse Types Explained

March 27, 2023

Elder Law Lawyer

There are many signs that an elderly person may be dealing with abuse in a nursing home. Some signs are obvious, and others are hidden to where you may not realize it is happening until you look at the situation with another lens. But understanding what the warning signs are can help family members intervene immediately if they notice something is not quite right with their loved one’s care. It’s also important to listen to your gut feelings. You may not notice obvious signs of abuse, but feel that something is wrong anyway. Listen to what your intuition tells you and recruit help from a law firm, similar to Carpenter & Lewis PLLC, and police if you believe that your senior relative in a nursing home is being abused, neglected, or otherwise mistreated. 

Generally, you can assume that someone is being abused if there are certain changes to their personality, behavior, or have frequent tension between themselves and a caregiver. if you suspect that your relative is being abused, watch out for signs such as unexplained broken bones, welts or scars in the body, bruising, not taking medications properly, broken eyeglasses, signs of restraint (ex: rope marks on wrists), or refusing to be in the presence of a certain caregiver alone.

As painful as it can be to imagine, the elderly can become victims of sexual abuse. If there are genital infections or unexplained STDs, bruising near the genitals or breasts, bloody or torn underwear, or anal or vaginal bleeding unrelated to a medical condition, then you need to get help from a lawyer and authorities immediately. As an elder law lawyer explains, if you do not intervene soon enough you risk your loved one enduring repeated incidents of horrific abuse.

Other forms of abuse in a nursing home can entail neglect and financial exploitation. Caregiver neglect is when an elderly person is left alone in a public location, resides in unsafe living conditions, is not suitably dressed for the weather, has been left dirty from lack of bathing assistance, lives in soiled clothing or bed sheets, is dehydrated or has unusual weight loss, or has the presence of bed sores from not being turned on a regular basis while in bed. Financial exploitation can occur when caregivers have access to the person’s personal information and runs authorized transactions or transfers money out of the resident’s account. 

Not all types of abuse are physical, as emotional abuse could be happening with or without physical harm being a component of that. Signs and symptoms of an elderly person being emotionally abused include witnessing controlling or threatening behavior, belittling, unusual personality changes, soothing mechanisms (such as sucking one’s thumb or rocking), and emotional outbursts. If suddenly your loved one has had a change in his or her personality or has withdrawn from the family and visits, then this is a cause for concern. A person may not know how to come right out and say that they are being abused, and having impairing conditions can make that even harder, so they may leave subtle messages that they need help. 

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