How to tell if a loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse

Some people prey on the elders because they have cognitive and physical difficulties. This is neither acceptable nor legal, but the harsh reality is that around 5 million elders are abused each year in the U.S. according to the National Association of Nursing Home Attorneys (NANHA). If you have a loved one in a nursing home facility, you can identify if they are a victim of this illegal practice by being on the lookout for the most common signs of abuse.

The signs

Adults who live in nursing homes are at most risk for abuse. Some signs of elderly abuse are clear, but others are not that easy to notice. Abuse includes physical, sexual, psychological and financial abuse. Each type of abuse is different, but they all inflict emotional distress on the victim. Some of the most common signs of abuse are:

  • Signs of physical abuse: bruises, black eyes, rope marks, open wounds, sprains or broken eyeglasses.
  • Signs of psychological abuse: change in mood, depression, being non-responsive and withdrawing from activities they enjoyed before.
  • Signs of financial abuse: unusual activity in bank account, frequent or unexpected ATM withdrawals, change in the bank statement address, checks written as gifts or new “best friends” that go with them to the bank.
  • Signs of sexual abuse: bruises around the breasts or genital area, genital infections or genital or anal bleeding.

According to NANHA, the most common type of abuse is psychological. The second most common type of abuse is financial. Senior financial abuse is estimated to have cost victims at least $2.9 billion in 2020.

Fighting back and doing justice

It is useful to know the signs of abuse if a loved one lives in a nursing home. Not every victim speaks out about what is happening to them, so learning the signs is the best way to ensure your loved one does not suffer from this horrible practice. If it turns out they have, you can hold the facility liable in court for their mistakes.

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