Recognize These Common Forms of Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes

April 7, 2023 Insights

elderly crying

Nursing home abuse and neglect are unfortunate realities that many elderly individuals face. A nursing home neglect statistics conducted by the National Council on Aging found that approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60 and above have experienced some form of elder abuse. 

Family members and loved ones must be vigilant and aware of the different forms of abuse and neglect that could happen in nursing homes. Don’t be afraid to consult with a law firm and take legal action. 

In this article, we will discuss the various types of nursing home abuse and neglect, as well as warning signs to look for to ensure the safety and well-being of your loved ones.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse in nursing homes refers to the intentional use of force against an elderly resident, resulting in injury, pain, or impairment. This can include actions such as hitting, slapping, pushing, or using excessive force during restraint. Some warning signs of physical abuse include:

  • Unexplained bruises, cuts, abrasions, or burns
  • Fractures or dislocations
  • Signs of restraint marks on wrists or ankles
  • Sudden changes in behavior or emotional distress
  • Fear or reluctance to be around certain staff members

Emotional and Psychological Abuse

Emotional and psychological abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse. This type of abuse includes yelling, humiliating, degrading, isolating, and threatening residents. 

It can lead to depression, anxiety, and a decline in the resident’s mental health. Emotional abuse can be more challenging to detect, but some warning signs may include the following:

  • Unexplained changes in mood or behavior
  • Withdrawal from social activities and interactions
  • Fear or reluctance to talk openly about their feelings or experiences
  • Sudden weight loss or gain
  • Depression, anxiety, or other signs of emotional distress

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse in nursing homes is a particularly heinous form of abuse involving non-consensual sexual contact or exposure to sexual content against a resident. This can include inappropriate touching, sexual assault, or even showing explicit material to the resident. Red flags of sexual abuse may include:

  • Bruises or injuries around the genital area or breasts
  • Torn or bloody undergarments
  • Difficulty walking or sitting
  • Fear or reluctance to be around certain staff members
  • Emotional distress or changes in behavior


Neglect in nursing homes occurs when the staff fails to provide the necessary care and attention to the residents to maintain their physical and emotional well-being. This can include inadequate assistance with personal hygiene, inadequate nutrition or hydration, or failure to provide proper medical care. Signs of neglect that you should never ignore include:

  • Poor personal hygiene, such as dirty clothing or unwashed hair
  • Bedsores or pressure ulcers from lack of movement or repositioning
  • Unexplained weight loss or signs of malnutrition
  • Dehydration, such as dry mouth, sunken eyes, or dark urine
  • Lack of appropriate supervision or assistance with daily activities
  • Unattended medical needs, such as untreated wounds or infections

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse in nursing homes involves the illegal or unauthorized use of a resident’s funds, property, or assets. This can include stealing cash or personal belongings, forging check signatures, or coercing a resident into making financial decisions. Signs of financial abuse you should watch out for include:

  • Unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts or changes in financial documents
  • Missing personal belongings or valuable items
  • Sudden changes in wills or other legal documents
  • Unpaid bills or lack of funds for necessary expenses
  • Fear or reluctance to discuss financial matters with family members


Protecting our elderly loved ones from nursing home abuse and neglect is a responsibility we all share. By being aware of the different forms of abuse and their warning signs, we can take the necessary steps to ensure the safety and well-being of those who reside in nursing homes. 

If you suspect your loved one may be experiencing abuse or neglect, do not hesitate to report your concerns to the nursing home administration, local Adult Protective Services agency, or the police. 

You can also consult with a nursing home abuse attorney. They can guide you through the process of holding the nursing home accountable and seeking compensation for your loved one’s suffering. Together, we can work towards creating a safer environment for our aging population.

Do you need help from a law firm in Lexington? Circeo Law Firm has established a reputation for providing exceptional legal representation to our clients both in Kentucky and throughout the nation. Our dedicated team of trial attorneys has expertise in the practice areas of injury, accident, neglect, abuse, wrongful death, and more. Get in touch for a free confidential consultation now!