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Seven Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Every year, an estimated 4 million senior citizens suffer from abuse and/or neglect. Unfortunately, only a fraction of these cases are ever reported. Often, this mistreatment comes at the hands of those who are supposed to provide for them most — the nursing home staff that these seniors’ families have entrusted with their loved ones’ lives.

Elder abuse comes in many different guises, including physical, emotional, financial, and sexual abuse. Passive neglect and willful deprivation are other forms of elder abuse, which involve failure to provide senior citizens with life necessities such as food, medication, clothing, and more. No matter how elder abuse manifests itself, it is an unacceptable and sometimes deadly form of mistreatment that no one should have to endure.

In this blog post, we discuss seven common warning signs of nursing home neglect and abuse, as well as steps you can take to seek proper compensation for the physical, emotional, and financial suffering that your loved one has undergone. Contact the personal injury lawyers at Fredson Stratmore Bitterman today to learn more about elder abuse and how we can put our years of experience and education to work for you.


Nursing home bedding requires frequent changing in order to ensure that seniors are not lying in the same position for extended periods of time. If caretakers fail to do this, elders may develop painful bruises and welts, known as bedsores. Bedsores are easy to prevent. If you find any bedsores on your loved one’s body, this is often an indication that other forms of neglect are happening as well.

Unexplained Injuries

Sudden broken bones, abrasions, burns, and other injuries are another common sign that an elder is being abused. If nursing home staff cannot or will not explain these injuries, this may be a red flag that something is wrong.


Sudden weight loss and dehydration are signs that a nursing home patient may not be getting enough or the right kind of food. Nursing home staff should always confirm that their patients are eating and drinking enough to remain alert and healthy. If your loved one seems underfed or even emaciated, abuse or neglect might be occurring.


Has your loved one suddenly become withdrawn or non-communicative? Do the activities they once loved no longer bring them joy? These may be signs of abuse. If your loved one is experiencing sudden symptoms of depression, they could be suffering from serious mistreatment at the hands of their nursing care staff.


Another common sign of elder abuse is severe anger or irritability. Frequent outbursts, tense relationships, and extreme agitation at seemingly minor triggers often indicate that something is off. While a certain degree of “crankiness” is common in older individuals, the sudden onset of this behavior when nursing staff are present could be an indication of underlying abuse.

Heavy Medication or Sedation

It is a crime for nursing home staff to administer chemical restraint, such as sedatives and other psychopharmacological drugs, to patients unless they are used to treat medical conditions or prevent the patient from causing harm to themselves or others. Unfortunately, nursing home staff will sometimes ignore this law and sedate patients unnecessarily, to the point where they become dissociative or unaware of their surroundings. If you’ve noticed that your loved one is frequently heavily medicated or sedated, they may be a victim of elder abuse.

Wrongful Death

While nursing homes are often the final destination of our loved ones, this does not mean that their death was not preventable. Elder neglect and abuse can often lead to the worsening of underlying medical symptoms, which may in turn lead to early or sudden death. If you feel that your loved one’s passing in a nursing home was preventable, elder abuse may be to blame.

No one should have to put their loved one in a nursing home only to have to worry about them more than they already were before. If you suspect that an elder you know may be suffering from neglect or abuse at the hands of their nursing home or assisted living facility staff, contact Fredson Stratmore Bitterman today. Our team of NewJersey personal injury lawyers can help you and your loved one receive the justice that you deserve.