Signs of Elder Abuse

With the aging of the “Baby Boom” generation and their children, elder abuse has become of real concern in the country.  Many are living in nursing homes or assisted living facilities.  It is important that family members learn to recognize the signs of possible abuse or neglect.

The statistics can be horrifying.  Physical abuse only constitutes a small percentage of nursing home and abuse cases.  However, it is estimated that only 1 in 14 cases (7%) of abuse cases are ever reported to the authorities.  The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) reports the following statistics as well:

  • Nearly one in three nursing homes were cited for violations of standards
  • 95% of residents sampled stated that they had either been the victim of abuse or neglect or had witnessed the abuse or neglect of another resident
  • More than 50% of nursing home staff admitted to mistreating, neglecting, or abusing nursing home patients in the previous year

Considering these startling statistics, a watchful eye on the part of family members, friends, and advisors is required to note the signs of potential abuse or neglect.


These wounds can develop on a patient’s backside or heels as a result of unrelieved pressure.  They are also called “pressure sores.”  In the cases of patients unable to move on their own, nurses are required to reposition the patient periodically to prevent the development of these sores.  


Patients falling in nursing homes is a common occurrence.  The injuries sustained in these falls can be lethal.  While not all falls can be prevented, it is up to the facility to assess the risk of a patient falling and put procedures in place to prevent it.  

Unexplained bruising and fractures

For non-verbal residents such as those suffering from Alzheimers or dementia, bruising, bumps and fractures can indicate abuse and neglect.  An unexplained fracture in a bedbound patient can indicate physical assault or that the patient may have been dropped during transfer.

Medication errors

Many patients are required to fill their prescriptions at the in-house pharmacy.  Unfortunately, medication errors in dosage and medication names occur.  

Malnutrition and dehydration

Many residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities require help with daily activities like eating and drinking.  Non-verbal residents are incapable of voicing their need for food or drink and sometimes, this care can be withheld.  Dehydration and malnutrition represent the most widespread form of neglect in these facilities.  

By being vigilant, you can help to spot the potential signs of abuse and report those signs to the proper authorities for investigation.

If you believe that yourself or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, you may be entitled to compensation.  Contact the law offices of Schenk Smith.  Our attorneys will work to get you the compensation you deserve.  Contact us today.