Instances of nursing home abuse are on the rise as an increasing number of Americans enter their golden years. The World Health Organization notes that while one in six elders suffer this abuse, only one in 24 cases get reported.

If you suspect your elderly loved one is experiencing abuse at a nursing home, there are a few steps you can take to document the evidence before presenting your case to an attorney.

Speak with your loved one

Some nursing home abuse goes unreported because the individual being abused is frightened or received threats of what might happen if he or she speaks up. Having a conversation with your loved one may shed some light on the issue and help you and your family take the first steps toward exposing the problem.

Take photo evidence

If your loved one is unable to communicate due to a physical or cognitive issue, taking photos of any suspected abuse or neglect may help you prove your case later on. Unexplained bruises, severe weight loss and bedsores may all fall under the signs of possible abuse. Remember to document your evidence carefully and note the date and time you took the photos.

Make a written complaint

Once you have victim or witness accounts and photos, you can move ahead by writing an official complaint letter to the nursing home. Detail your findings and make copies of the letter, as well as any replies, to show an attorney if your case goes to court.

Cases of elder abuse may rise as more seniors enter nursing facilities. Remaining aware of the signs can help protect your loved one and allow them to live with dignity.