Elder abuse and nursing home neglect affect seniors from all backgrounds and walks of life. However, some individuals are more at risk than others.
Various studies have shown that elderly individuals with certain physical and mental health conditions, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, are significantly more likely to become victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. Studies have also found that non-white nursing home residents, specifically Black and Hispanic individuals, have a statistically much higher risk of suffering abuse and neglect at the hands of trusted caregivers.
Several large studies reported on by the National Library of Medicine’s National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) have found that, on average, minorities receive a lower quality of care in nursing homes and residential care facilities than white residents. And, when an individual is from a minority group and has Alzheimer’s or a related dementia condition, they are statistically at a disproportionate risk of being abused or neglected in a community care setting.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect
It is important that family members and loved ones know the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect. Often, elderly individuals are unwilling or incapable of speaking up for themselves when they are being mistreated by caregivers or nursing home staff. By knowing the signs of potential abuse, you can stay vigilant and report suspected misconduct right away.
Some of the most common signs of nursing home abuse and neglect include:
- Unexplained injuries, such as cuts, scrapes, and bruises
- Untreated and/or advanced bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers
- Accidents, including falls, or accident-related injuries
- Unexplained changes in mood or behavior, such as bouts of crying or aggression
- Apparent fear or unwillingness to talk in the presence of a caregiver or staff
- Signs of chemical (i.e., medication-assisted) or physical restraint
- Dehydration and/or malnutrition, as well as unusual weight loss or weight gain
- Poor personal hygiene and lack of cleanliness
- Generally poor or unsanitary conditions at the facility
- Injuries located near or on the buttocks, genitals, or breasts
- Unexplained changes in an elderly resident’s financial situation
- Unusual withdrawals from bank accounts
- Bounced checks or overdrafts
- Changes to a will, trust, power of attorney, or similar document
If you notice any of these or other unusual signs, we encourage you to report possible abuse or neglect to the proper authorities. This may include the nursing home administrator, local law enforcement, or the state’s department of protective adult services. If you believe anyone is in immediate danger, call 911.