Look Out for Elderly Loved Ones this Holiday Season

During Holiday Visits, Keep Your Eyes Peeled for Signs of Elder Abuse

It’s the holiday season, and many of us will be visiting our elderly loved ones in care facilities around the country. That’s a beautiful thing in itself. But why not going beyond the visit to give a special gift this year - the gift of extra vigilance. Sadly, and shockingly, millions of elderly Americans will suffer some form of abuse or neglect this year at the hands of those charged with caring them. As family members and loved ones, we must do our best to watch out for signs of nursing home abuse and neglect while we are spending time at nursing homes and facilities.

Many of the signs and symptoms of elder abuse are only too obvious. Welts, bruises, bed sores… But there are more subtle, harder to detect signs as well. Below we’ve compiled a list of common signals that something is wrong at the nursing home. Do your senior loved ones a favor and heed this list when you bid them seasons’ greetings. And have a happy holiday!

Recognizing Signs of Elder Abuse

Researchers, doctors, and public health officials alike insist that raising awareness about the prevalence of elder abuse and educating people to recognize signs of neglect is the best way to combat the problem.

Most Common Signs and Symptoms of Elder Abuse or Neglect


  • Lack of basic exercises, including range of motion
  • Open or festering wounds
  • Bedsores
  • Lack of regular baths and personal hygiene
  • Lack of or inadequate oral and dental care
  • Failure to replace diapers and clothing after an episode of incontinence
  • Ignoring or isolating bedfast residents
  • Transferring residents using an insufficient number of staff members
  • Failing to keep residents hydrated
  • Refusing to answer call for help lights and signals
  • Failing to assist residents to the toilet when asked
  • Being left wet or soiled with feces

Emotional abuse

  • Verbal abuse, including yelling, screaming, cursing, browbeating, and insults
  • Treating an elder like a child or infant
  • Depriving an elder of essential services
  • Humiliation
  • Scapegoating or blaming
  • Ignoring the elder
  • Isolating an elderly person from friends and family
  • Isolating an elderly person from other residents or patients
  • Threats to harm or physically abuse an elder
  • Punishing an elder, particularly using bizarre or inappropriate methods such confinement, isolation, tying down, terrorizing, or “gaslighting”

Sexual Abuse

  • Vaginal and rectal bleeding
  • Vaginal and rectal discharge
  • Genital and rectal scarring
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Urinary infections or irritations
  • Bruises
  • Abrasions
  • Lacerations
  • Gractures
  • General body soreness
  • Fatigue
  • Rope burns

Financial Abuse

  • Unusual activity in a bank, savings, or investment account
  • Unexplained withdrawals from financial accounts
  • Checks written to a caregiver or financial professional
  • Loans given to a caregiver or financial professional
  • Addition of names to an elder’s bank account or ATM card
  • Unpaid bills
  • Changes to key financial documents, including last will and testament
  • Forged signatures
  • Large “gifts” to a caregiver or financial professional
  • Disappearance of funds, property, assets, or valuables
  • Isolation of the elder by caregiver or financial professional
  • Reluctance or evasiveness by elder to talk about financial matters

PA & NJ Nursing Home Misconduct Law Firm  

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If you or someone you love has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, please contact our team of nursing home misconduct attorneys toll-free at 215-462-3330 or via our online contact form.