neglect in a nursing home

Nursing homes are places where seniors should feel safe and cared for the duration of their lives. However, mistreatment is still fairly common in these types of institutions. Neglect and abuse are actual occurrences, and you must be aware of them. Otherwise, you could bring your loved one to an abusive nursing home. 

The silver lining of these unfortunate instances is that the warning signs are quite visible as long as you’re observant. They may also be initially tricky to spot unless you know your senior loved one well. So, if you’re concerned about your relative’s well-being in a nursing home, familiarize yourself with the signs below. You may be able to provide immediate help if you do so.

  • Unexplained And Untreated Injuries

Bodies of the elderly are more sensitive to changes and are more prone to minor injuries. So, when they receive a small nick or bruise, it’s generally no cause for concern. The problem arises if these injuries manifest suddenly or never fully heal after days. It could be a sign of neglect

Nursing home staff should always report and treat a senior’s new injuries at first sight of them. If your loved one is complaining of pain and their caregiver isn’t responding appropriately, take the reins and check them yourself. In such cases, you must know the symptoms of common senior injuries, like what to look for for bed sores or cartilage tears. You must also report your findings so medical professionals can give immediate treatment. 

However, it’s vital to note that just because a senior has an unexplained injury doesn’t always mean neglect is to blame. Staff members are often busy and may not immediately spot bodily changes without a second opinion.

  • Increased Confusion Or Disorientation

Cases of confusion are typical among seniors. But moments of extreme disorientation may indicate an underlying medical condition or medicinal abuse. Certain medications could have adverse side effects, which must constantly be monitored.  

Drug overdose is dangerous for anyone, regardless of age. It’s hard to tell if someone overdoses on prescribed medication unless you know the side effects. So, if you notice your loved one acting strangely without a history of similar symptoms, look into their caregivers or the amount of medication they’re taking.

Additionally, carbon monoxide poisoning is also a possible reason for temporary confusion. If this is the case, it may be grounds for a lawsuit since it’s lethal. Ensure you admit your elderly loved one in a nursing home with carbon monoxide detectors installed in the establishment and vehicles used to transport residents.

  • Sudden Immobility

A handful of seniors are wheelchair users. However, many of them can still stand or walk short distances. Your loved one may be a victim of neglect if they’re usually mobile and suddenly have difficulty moving.  

Caretakers have tasks to assist nursing home residents with mobility issues. Leaving an immobile senior alone for hours is neglect, if not outright abuse. So, observe your loved one’s condition whenever you visit and learn what they do for daily exercise. They should perform physical activities appropriate for them, such as chair workouts, walking, or yoga. Remember that anything they’re forced to do beyond their capacity could be considered abuse.

  • Malnutrition

Some seniors typically appear much thinner than when they were younger due to an expected loss of bone and body mass. But due to malnourishment, some may have sudden weight loss, physical weakness, dry mouth, and reduced urine.  

Caretakers must be available to assist elders who have difficulty feeding themselves because of physical limitations. Nursing homes should also offer a variety of healthy food appropriate for each resident’s prescribed diet. It’s worth noting that failure to eat a balanced meal can lead to malnutrition, which could result in more medical problems.

  • Consistently Poor Hygiene

Cleanliness among the residents and the surroundings of a nursing home is a must to ensure good health. But due to old age, some elderly individuals may have difficulty cleaning up after themselves. That’s where caregivers come in. It’s part of their duty to assist in bathing or washing them when they can’t. 

If your senior loved one almost always appears unclean, staff members could be neglecting them. Soiled clothing, dirty hair and skin, and toilet accidents are three of the most significant signs of hygiene neglect. Keep in mind that consistent exposure to poor hygiene could make your loved one more susceptible to diseases. 

In addition, a dirty room is also a significant concern. Unless a senior is physically capable, nursing home staff should regularly replace bedding, whether or not it’s soiled.

  • Psychological Issues

Your loved one could appear physically sound, but mentally, they’re in a dark place. It’s challenging enough to be at an advanced age. Having mental issues on top of that can add more stress to the remaining years of their life.  

Emotional abuse is a form of neglect in a nursing home. Sadly, there are cases of social isolation and threats of deprivation among some seniors. Anything ranging from verbal and non-verbal harm can destroy a person psychologically

The ideal institution for seniors should provide proper care to their residents. A nursing home and its staff should be able to prioritize the mental health and physical well-being of everyone.


It’s heartbreaking to learn that your loved one suffers from neglect and abuse in a nursing home. Since you’re not with them 24/7, the least you can do is to report these issues to authorities.  

Understaffing, inadequate training, and negligent hiring are some reasons why elderly neglect happens. Doing your part could help your loved one and all the residents of a deficient nursing home.