Nursing Home Abuse: What to Watch For

The need for home care in the United States is expected to skyrocket soon. A Census report published in 2017 puts the national population of boomers over 60 years at 15.2% of the total population – roughly 49.2 million. Even more, 3.2 million of them are currently residing in senior homes. This means that the number of people who need home and personal care is rising and with it, the concern for best hospice services.

Astonishingly, one in three nursing homes in the country has been cited for abuse. This begs the question: what can you do to ensure that your loved one is in the hands of a good caregiver? Here are some of the things you should watch for that may indicate your loved one is suffering from abuse:

Weight loss

Weight loss is the first sign of poor care. While age and medication may contribute to weight loss, so does poor hydration and nutrition. If you notice a sudden loss of weight, lack of appetite, and general weakness, chances are your loved one is not receiving proper care. With poor nutrition, they are susceptible to illness and diseases. An excellent nursing home should give seniors good tasting and nutritious foods.

Lack of personal hygiene

If your loved one is too old and too tired to clean after themselves, they may need help with using the bathroom, personal grooming, and bathing. If they are being neglected, they will not be well cleaned. Do they have stronger body odor? Is their hair shaggy and dirty? Are they wearing the same clothes they have worn for days? Lack of basic hygiene is an indicator that your loved one is not adequately cared for.


People with conditions like dementia may need to be restrained occasionally. However, if they get restrained too often and the restraints used are too tight, it can be an indicator of poor care. Also, when you realize that your loved one is sedated or restrained more than they were at first, make sure you follow up to find out why things have changed.

Less socialization

Our loved ones are great, and we would do anything we can for them. Remember that that love is reciprocated. They feel the same about you. They notice your busy schedule and the efforts you make to keep them comfortable. Therefore, it is likely that they will want to keep to themselves.

They will not want to burden you with issues they are going through. To do this, they will talk less and develop the need to be alone. They may also show signs of depression and sadness as a result. When you notice any negative emotional changes, find out what is wrong. Get professional help. A psychologist will get them to talk about whatever is bothering them.

Bruises and broken bones

Sometimes the abuser can be actually violent and physical, leading to unexplained injuries. Your loved one may not remember what happened because of poor memory, but if the injuries come with other behavior like fear of touch, biting, sucking, and rocking, it may be a sign of physical abuse.


Be vigilant of the signs and symptoms of abuse. Your loved one deserves the best care. If you need any legal advice on this and other elder law matters, the Amsberry Law Firm is ready to assist. Call us today at (210) 354-2244.

Attorney Russell Amsberry

Attorney Russell J.G. Amsberry

Attorney Russell J.G. Amsberry founded the Amsberry Law Firm in 1995 with the goal of providing clients with exceptional, focused representation on their issues. His success as a legal advocate has been reflected in the numerous professional honors he has received, such as speaking engagements and inclusion in Scene in SA magazine’s listing of the best lawyers in San Antonio, a Distinguished rating from Martindale-Hubble, and an amazing rating from Avvo. [ Attorney Bio ]

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The Amsberry Law Firm, founded in 1995, has helped thousands of clients overcome their unique legal challenges.

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