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Physical Signs a Loved One May Be A Victim of Elder Abuse or Neglect?

Physical Signs a Loved One May Be A Victim of Elder Abuse or Neglect?

There can be a number of signs that are physical, emotional and changes in personality.

Keeping vigilant for these signs is very important because your family member may be too afraid to tell you about the neglect or abuse at the nursing home or have cognitive problems that make communication difficult or impossible.


Bedsores (also known as pressure sores, decubitus ulcers and pressure ulcers) are caused by unrelieved pressure to the skin, especially in areas of the body where bone and skin are in close contact including the hips, back, elbow, ankles and heels. They can cause serious health including infections and other life-threatening injuries. They are caused when the person is sedentary and not properly moved so he or she is not resting too long on the same parts of his or her body.

Falls and fractures

If a nursing home resident is injured in a fall it may mean the person is not properly supervised and/or the facility is understaffed. Fractured bones could happen as a result of falls or physical abuse. Bones of the elderly may break much easier than those in younger people.


This is common with Alzheimer’s and/or dementia patients because they feel they don’t need to drink. The person may have dry lips or mouth and be disorientated. If the person isn’t drinking enough fluids may be need to be administered through an IV. If serious enough and the nursing home resident is not properly cared for the person may pass out or collapse possibly causing other injuries.


Nursing home residents may need help eating which can take time and effort that an understaffed or uncaring staff may want to avoid. Food may just be put in front of residents and they’re left to eat it as best they can. The food quality may also be very poor and the resident simply doesn’t want to eat it. Signs of malnutrition include low weight, mouth sores, low muscle tone, cognitive and skin issues. Without proper nutrition a nursing home resident may be more prone to infections or worsening of underlying health conditions.

Urinary tract infections

These potentially fatal infections can occur if a nursing home resident is not kept clean and dry or diapers, bed sheets, catheters and bed pans are not changed often enough, which may be a sign of neglect. They may worsen because of dehydration.


Understaffed facilities or those whose staff is not properly trained may use restraints to physically control residents. There may be physical restraints keeping a person in bed or in a wheel chair. Chemical restraints, in the form of inappropriate anti-depression or anti-anxiety medications, may also be used. The staff may use these restraints to replace proper supervision and is likely to result in injuries to the nursing home resident.

If you feel a loved one is being endangered in a nursing home or has already suffered an injury due to the negligence of the facility’s staff, contact our office today so we can talk about how to keep the person safe and the laws that may provide you and your family compensation for injuries.

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