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Michael J. Doyle, Attorney At Law Michael J. Doyle, Attorney At Law
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What are the Signs of Elder Abuse?


When an elder in a nursing home or assisting living facility is facing some sort of abuse, they often keep it entirely to themselves. Sometimes they are afraid of retaliation if they say something. Sometimes they think no one will take them seriously, or that they are exaggerating their own problems. In other situations, they might not have the mental capacity to remember the abuse or ever know that it took place.

For these reasons and more, it is crucial that family members and friends pay close attention to their elderly loved ones in nursing homes, or if they live with an in-home caregiver. Oftentimes, it is entirely up to family to spot the telltale signs of elder abuse and take action on their own.

Five of the most common signs of nursing home abuse, in no particular order, are:

  1. Mood swings: Living in a nursing home may be a new situation for an elder but it is usually not such a dramatic change that it affects who they are. Uncharacteristic mood swings in your elder could indicate emotional abuse being carried out by orderlies or a particular resident. Pay attention if your elder seems reclusive or fearful when a certain person is in the area.
  2. Unexplained injuries: If an elder suffers an injury at a nursing home, someone should know about it. Being told that no one knows how it happened shows that either someone has intentionally harmed an elder, or that staff are negligent and not watching elders in potentially dangerous situations.
  3. Bedsores: Any assisted living facility that tells you bedsores are unavoidable might need to improve its standards and practices. Regular changes of bedding or encouraging elder activity throughout the day are two easy ways to stop bedsores from forming.
  4. Dirty facility: Are the walls, corners, and floors of your elder’s nursing home covered in dust or dirt? If so, it is indicative of a facility staff that is either negligent in its duties or sorely overworked. If they cannot maintain the basic groundwork of hygiene, they cannot be expected to adequately care for your elder.
  5. Altered wills or finances: Theft is a serious problem in dishonest nursing home facilities. Orderlies may take steps to hide their actions and cleverly steal from elders, such as tricking them into writing a check for them. Private caretakers may intentionally manipulate an elder over time to add their name to their will. You should have regular access to your elder’s financial institutions to watch for dramatic inconsistencies.

If You Spot Elder Abuse

Do you think you have valid concerns for believing your elderly loved one is being abused. Call the authorities if you believe they are in immediate danger of physical harm. After they have been safely removed from the facility, or if immediate danger is not present, call 505.219.2176 to contact Albuquerque personal injury attorney Michael J. Doyle. For more than a decade, our law firm has been helping people in difficult situations, such as high-stakes nursing home abuse cases. Get a free case evaluation today to begin.