The decision to put a loved one into a nursing home is daunting and rife with emotions. While you may want to care for them at your home or theirs, it simply may not be an option. This situation can be even worse if you suspect that your family member is suffering from abuse or neglect at the hands of those who should be caring for them.

Nursing home abuse is one of the most under-reported crimes in the United States. Often, victims are too embarrassed to come forward and ask for help or they may not be aware that it is happening. For these reasons, it is important to understand the signs of nursing home neglect or abuse.

Sexual abuse

While sexual abuse is not as common as other forms of abuse, it does happen. Signs of sexual abuse may include torn or bloody undergarments, the development of a sexually transmitted disease or bruising around intimate areas. Elderly people with dementia are more at risk for sexual abuse since they may not understand what is going on.

Physical abuse

Physical abuse is one of the most visible types of nursing home abuse. Typical signs of physical abuse include unexplained weight loss, fresh bruises that are unusual, inexplicably broken bones or falls and bedsores.

Nursing home neglect

While abuse is intentional, neglect results from the failure to provide adequate accommodations to live a healthy and fulfilling life. Neglect may be more difficult to discern, but the warning signs include weight loss and bedsores. Your loved one may be susceptible to malnutrition or dehydration so keep an eye on the condition of their skin and body weight.