What are the Warning Signs of Elder Abuse Against Residents?

Because seniors often hesitate to speak openly about nursing home abuse, it’s very important that you know what sorts of signs and symptoms to look for. If you notice any of the following in your loved one, you should be on high alert.

  • Injuries that can’t be easily explained. It doesn’t necessarily have to be as obvious as a bone fracture or black eye. Even small cuts and bruises can be indicators of physical abuse, particularly if they are located on areas of the body which aren’t normally exposed. Clustered bruises on the arm or wrist might indicate the victim was violently seized and yanked by a staff member.
  • Unusual moods and behavioral changes in your loved one. Everyone has occasional bad days, but if your loved one seems to be consistently depressed, irritable, anxious, or apathetic, it may be a warning sign that he or she is dealing with abuse at their nursing home. Try asking your family member gentle, general questions about the facility, and pay close attention to any changes in their body language or tone of voice.
  • Your loved one frequently seems groggy or confused. Sadly, it is not unheard-of for nursing home staff members to intentionally overmedicate “bothersome” patients, sacrificing residents’ health and happiness for their own convenience. The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) of 1987 regulates the circumstances under which sedatives and other medications may be administered. All nursing homes which accept Medicare or Medicaid funding must comply with the provisions of OBRA.