What are the signs of nursing home abuse or neglect?

Experts recognize four primary types of nursing home abuse: physical, sexual, emotional and financial. In some cases the victim has physical injuries that can be observed, and in other cases you may recognize a marked change in behavior.

A victim of physical or sexual abuse may have bruises, cuts, welts or other injuries. These may include signs of restraints, like ligature marks at the wrists or ankles, or injuries to the groin, anus or breasts among sexual abuse victims. Personal property like eyeglasses, hearing aids or clothing may be damaged.

Physical abuse can also cause psychological trauma, as can emotional abuse, like verbally abusing, shunning or isolating a victim. A victim may become agitated or withdrawn and nonresponsive. He or she may suddenly become disinterested in activities they usually enjoy.

Sudden and detrimental changes in an elderly person’s financial accounts or documents may be signs of coercion, fraud or other abuse. This includes unexplained losses of money; changes in a will, property deed or car title; or purchases of services or items that are unnecessary or cannot be found.

Signs of neglect include poor hygiene or nutrition, dirty or soiled clothing or bed linens, and untreated illness or injury, including pressure sores (also known as “bed sores”).

Get more information from the National Center on Elder Abuse.

Learn What do you do if you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect?