Signs and Symptoms of Elder Abuse

It is important for everyone to be aware of the signs of elder abuse. Recognizing the common signs is the first step toward preventing the victim from suffering further harm. Many times, elders are afraid and/or are not able to effectively communicate and therefore make the perfect victims. Their best hope is often an attentive loved one who notices something is not right and does something to stop it. If you notice any of the following signs you should immediately report them to the elder's physician and/or an appropriate individual or agency:

  • Malnutrition or dehydration
  • Unexplained bruises or contusions
  • Scratches, pinches, cuts or burns
  • Fractured or broken bones
  • Bedsores (often referred to pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers)
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Painful response to touching parts of the body
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Smell of fecal matter or urine
  • Sudden changes in behavior
    • Anxiety
    • Being defensive
    • Easily agitated
    • Suddenly angry
    • Confusion and disorientation
    • Depression
    • Difficulty communicating
    • Incoherently telling stories
  • Unwillingness to speak
  • Signs of fear when a particular caregiver is around
  • Mean or derogatory comments by the staff to a senior in their care
  • Staff refusing to allow the senior to be alone
  • Refusing to allow the senior to receive visits, phone calls, or mail
  • The sudden disappearance of possessions

These are just some of the common signs associated with elder abuse/neglect. The most important thing is to remain aware and observant at all times when going to visit your loved one. Pay attention to their mood and behavior from one visit to the next. Also make note of physical and cognitive changes that occur over time. It is important to trust your instincts. If you believe that your loved one is being neglected or abused, voice your concerns.

For a free and confidential consultation with an experienced nursing home neglect lawyer, please call us directly at (866) 338-7079, or click here to submit your inquiry online.