Types of Abuse in Nursing Homes

Over 1.4 million senior citizens are living in assisted living homes across the United States. Because many of these elders are at these facilities because they need everyday assistance, they are more vulnerable to abuse or neglect. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, there are seven types of maltreatment: emotional or psychological abuse, neglect, abandonment and self-neglect, physical abuse, and sexual abuse.

The nation’s senior citizens are one of our most essential resources. It is a chilling fact that 1 out of 10 residents in nursing homes have experienced some form of elder abuse. Because many of these abuses are incremental, there is a high rate of unreported cases. We trust nursing home caregivers to look out for our loved ones. Someone should be held accountable for their neglect. Contact the nursing home neglect attorneys at Farah & Farah now for your free case review.  

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What is Elder Abuse? 

Elder abuse includes any intentional cause of injury by nursing homes, assisted living, or other facilities. It is a broad umbrella that can consist of many types of willful damage, from intimidation to financial abuse. 

Understanding the different types of elder abuse and their signs can help you identify them. Being able to identify abuse signs may help you act quickly in their best interests. If you suspect someone is being abused or neglected, contact a nursing home neglect attorney as soon as possible. Please note: the following entries include graphic descriptions of abuse. 


Types of elder abuse include: 

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse includes the use of force to cause injury to the body. Physical abuse can include acts of violence such as hitting (with and without objects), burning, pushing, shaking, shoving, and more. Additionally, it can consist of overuse of behavior compliance drugs, force-feeding, physical restraints, or physical punishment.

Signs may include bruises, broken bones, sprains, unexplained hair loss, tooth loss, and dislocated joints. Self-treated injuries are a red flag of physical abuse.


Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse of elders can include any unwanted or forced sexual contact with an older adult. Including any sexual non-consensual interaction with elders who have Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other disabilities that make it difficult to consent to sex or report abuse. 

Signs of sexual abuse include bruising or bleeding on inner thighs, genitals, or anus, recent diagnosis of sexually transmitted conditions, sudden panic attacks, pain in the genital or anus, bloody underwear, injuries to the pelvic area, difficulty standing or walking, emotional withdrawal and suicidal ideation/attempts. 


Psychological and Emotional Abuse 

Emotional and psychological abuse includes any intentional act to cause distress, fear, or mental anguish through non-verbal or verbal attacks. These abuses include removing access to necessary resources, threats, humiliation, terrorizing, name-calling, intimidation, isolation, and more. 

Signs of psychological and emotional abuse are more difficult to qualify. But sudden emotional or physical withdrawal can be signs of deeper issues. 



Elder neglect can include any willful action to deprive an elder of their care. Neglect is more than a simple accident or misunderstanding. Elder neglect is directly caused by an intentional lack of well-being for a resident. Common examples of elder neglect include denial of daily living necessities or shelter, not providing necessary clothing, substandard medical care and hygiene, improper hydration and nutrition, and a failure to protect from danger. 

Tragically elder neglect is the most common type of elder abuse. While many institutional causes may be at the root of elder abuse, there is never an acceptable excuse for neglecting senior citizens. 



Elder abandonment occurs when the caretaker of an elder deserts their responsibilities. The caretaker leaves the elder without any supervision at a hospital, nursing home, or other facilities without instruction. Elder abandonment is sometimes classified as a type of elder neglect.

Signs of abandonment include poor hygiene, appearing lost, scared, or confused, loneliness, depression, dehydration, malnourishment, and poor health. 


Financial Abuse 

Elder financial abuse is the illegal exploitation of a senior’s assets, property, or funds. Examples of financial accuse include forging/misusing signatures, coercing or deceiving someone into signing contacts, new wills, or any document, improper use of guardianship, conservatorship, or power of attorney. 

Financial abuse signs include missing belongings, missing property, financial discussions without documentation, unexplained ATM withdrawals, canceled checks, eviction notices, unpaid bills, and utilities cut off for nonpayment. 



Self-neglect is one of the most overlooked forms of elder abuse. When an elder is no longer able to meet their daily standard of care to the level that they neglect their own safety, they experience self-neglect. Self-neglect can include refusal of medication, personal hygiene, shelter, water, food, or clothing. 

Self-neglect only applies to people who can no longer make safe choices. It does not apply to mentally competent older people who can choose to forego their personal safety as a lifestyle choice. 


What to Do If You Suspect Elder Abuse? 

If you suspect a residential care center is abusing your loved one, you owe it to yourself to contact a nursing home lawyer. A nursing home lawyer can help you get proper documentation of your loved one’s injury. Many elders may be at risk of retaliation abuse for reporting mistreatment. Call 911 or the police if you suspect your loved one is in immediate danger. 

Your loved one has a right to a safe and peaceful nursing home experience. When you discover your loved one’s rights are being violated, you need to immediately hire a lawyer. Take any accusation seriously. Many elders report violations, but their claims are dismissed. By hiring a lawyer, you can make sure your loved one is taken seriously. 

You don’t deserve to be in the dark about your loved one’s care. Seeking the advice of a lawyer can help you know what steps to take next. Farah & Farah have a winning track record of helping people all over Georgia and Florida. Contact us now for a free, no-obligation case review

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