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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 4th decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.


6 Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Simone Perele

Many people approaching retirement age are in the unique position of caring for aging parents as well. As the quality of life and mortality improves in modern society, many retirees are entering their golden years in a caregiving position.

Having a parent in a long-term care facility or nursing home can help during this challenging period. However, it's important to know when your loved one is being mistreated or neglected.

Here are six common signs of nursing home abuse to be aware of and watch out for.

Emotional and Behavioral Changes

It's common for people to go through a range of emotions when they enter a long-term care facility. There's a loss of independence and identity that can lead to emotional changes, depression, and anxiety. This is one reason why nursing home abuse often goes undetected. Many family members write off the emotional signs of abuse as a reaction to the life change.

It's essential to be aware of any severe or drastic emotional and behavioral changes. Keep an open dialogue with your loved one to ensure that their emotional changes aren't a result of improper care or abuse.

New or Unusual Illnesses

Nursing homes are meant to be clean and well-managed. One of the more telling signs of abuse or neglect is the development of unusual or preventable illnesses.

This issue became readily apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to legal experts, there's been a significant spike in elder neglect and abuse cases since the start of the global health crisis. In many situations, this issue has been related to improper staffing or a lack of effort in implementing social distancing and sanitization protocols. These facilities have a responsibility to keep this vulnerable segment of the population safe.

Other illnesses and infections are a sign of inadequate care and hygienic practices that speak to a deeper issue. Additionally, there could be improper handling of medication contributing to these changes. 

Signs of Physical Injury

Evidence of physical injury may include bruises, broken bones, broken glasses, or restraint marks. When nursing home abuse is taking place, there are often efforts made to conceal the physical signs. The abuser will often inflict harm in less visible areas or have a realistic-sounding excuse for the welts, bruises, or cuts.

If you notice physical signs of injury, it's crucial to speak to your loved one alone and confirm that you can keep them safe. Document the injury and be mindful of future developments.

Poor Personal Hygiene

Changes in personal hygiene are another sign of abuse or neglect in a nursing home. If your loved one seems disheveled, has bedsores, or has an increased body odor, this is a sign of neglect.

Neglect and abuse go hand-in-hand. Everyone has a right to a clean, healthy body. Blocking someone from that right is abuse.

Fear and Anxiety Around Staff

If your loved one seems particularly fearful or anxious when certain staff members are around, there's likely a reason why. While it's a fact of life that your loved one might not like everyone around them, it's still worth investigating deeper.

Speak to your loved one alone and determine if there's an underlying reason for their discomfort.

Financial Changes

Physical, emotional, and sexual abuse are tremendously concerning when it comes to nursing home abuse. Neglect and mistreatment fall under that umbrella as well. However, these issues aren't the only types of nursing home abuse to watch out for.

Financial abuse is often more subtle and difficult to detect. If you notice any strange transactions or financial changes that seem uncharacteristic for your loved one, it's essential to act immediately. A staff member could be coercing your loved one to part with money in ways that appear consensual but that actually constitute financial abuse.

Being proactive and mindful when a loved one is in a long-term care facility is a must. Remember these signs and practice constant vigilance to protect those who once protected you.

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About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website bookstore or on

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