Published On: 3.19.2015 North Carolina

Risks, Signs and Symptoms of Nursing Home Abuse


Elder abuse is difficult spot – unless you know what to look for. Signs of abuse are often mistaken for signs of dementia or frailty because so many of clinical symptoms overlap with what may be abuse. Be aware that abusive caregivers may dismiss questions as just symptoms of mental deterioration.

Signs of abuse

Look for the warning signs elder abuse:

  • The elderly person and caregiver have frequent arguments
  • There is an obvious tension between elderly person and the caregiver
  • Noticeable changes in behavior or personality


If you become suspicious of abuse, take note of any of any physical signs of abuse.

Physical abuse

  • Unexplained new bruises, breaks in the skin, rashes, welts or scars.
  • Sprains, dislocations or broken bones
  • Medications that are not being taken correctly – either too much or too little
  • Missing or broken eyeglasses
  • Marks caused by being physically restrained on wrists and ankles
  • Caregiver will not allow private visits with the elder

Emotional abuse

  • If you witness overbearing, demanding or belittling behavior from your caregiver
  • If the elder exhibits signs of dimensia —  mumbling, rocking back and forth or sucking

Sexual abuse

  • Bruised breast or genitals
  • Genital infections including venereal disease
  • Anal or vaginal bleeding
  • Underclothing that is bloody, stained or torn


Neglect by caregivers or self-neglect

  • Dramatic weight changes
  • Dehydration or malnutrition
  • Bed sores
  • Unkempt living quarters – insects, trash or unchanged bedding/clothing
  • Neglected bathing
  • Clothing doesn’t match the season
  • Dangerous living conditions – exposed wiring, fire hazards, leaky plumbing
  • Leaving the elder alone in a public area

Financial exploitation

  • Unauthorized bank withdrawals
  • Sudden changes in financial condition
  • Missing personal  items or cash
  • Changes to in insurance policies, wills, power of attorney or titles to property
  • New names on senior’s bank signature card
  • Bills go unpaid — or medical care is skipped  – even though there are resources to pay for them
  • ATM activity even though  the elder is bedridden
  • Paying for unnecessary services or merchandise


Healthcare fraud and abuse

  • Duplicate payments or billings for identical medical services or equipment
  • Under-medication  or over-medication
  • No care provided even though  the bills have been paid


We Can Help

The experienced Personal Injury attorneys at Charles G. Monnett III & Associates provide free, no-obligation consultations, support and assistance in finding resources to help you and your family deal with serious injuries or death as a result of elder abuse. We can also help you pursue a legal action. If you or a family member would like more information about your legal options and determine whether you have a claim, call our office today at 704.376.1911 or toll-free 800.977.3077…. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.