Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes: Identifying Signs

One in 10. That’s how many adults are likely to become a victim of elder abuse and neglect. That could be your parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, neighbor or other loved one. In fact, in California there are more than 175,000 cases of reported elder abuse each year, according to Kern County Aging & Adult Services. And officials estimate that for every case known to reporting agencies, 24 cases go unreported. Here are two ways to identify elder abuse and neglect in a nursing home:

  1. Look for physical signs. One of the most common signs of neglect are bedsores or pressure ulcers which can be deadly if they go unnoticed and untreated. Other physical signs of abuse and neglect include bruises, cuts, burns, rapid weight loss, or unexplained injuries.
  2. Watch for emotional or behavioral changes. These signs may be harder to detect, but the typical signs to look for are your loved ones becoming more withdrawn, depressed, or anxious. Behavioral changes such as sudden outbursts or unusual agitation can also be a sign of abuse.

To report cases of elder abuse, whether it is on your own behalf or that of someone you know, call California Department of Public Health, Community Care Licensing, Adult Protective Services, or the Long-Term Care Ombudsman.