Nursing home abuse and neglect are a huge problem. Signs of elder abuse can be difficult to spot, but if you see any of the following behaviors, it’s important you report the abuse to the nursing home and legal authorities immediately.

Understanding common signs of nursing home abuse and neglect can help you protect your loved one from harm and ensure they receive the proper care they deserve. Here are the most common signs you should watch out for.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse can be one of the most devastating types of elder abuse because it causes the victim to suffer from depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. The victim may withdraw from their friends and loved ones and become withdrawn and uncommunicative due to their emotional pain. Common signs of emotional abuse include:

  • Feelings of worthlessness or shame
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Growing fear of family or caregivers
  • Change in personality or behavior

If you see any of these behaviors in your loved one, immediately report the abuse to the nursing home and legal authorities. Emotional abuse can have a serious and long-lasting impact on the victim’s well-being and can be extremely harmful to their physical and mental health.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is any act that causes intentional physical harm to a person. It can involve hitting, biting, kicking, pushing, and other actions. Physical abuse can cause serious injuries, infections, and broken bones. Common signs of physical abuse include:

  • Violent and forceful actions that cause cuts, bruises, or broken bones
  • Displacing furniture to inflict injury
  • Hitting and kicking repeatedly
  • Blacking out or losing consciousness from head injuries

These are just some of the signs that you may see in a nursing home resident who is being physically abused. You should always report signs of elder abuse to the nursing home and legal authorities to protect your loved one from harm.

Psychological Abuse

Psychological abuse is when a caregiver fails to respect a person’s autonomy. Psychological abuse can include a caregiver insisting on knowing what a person is doing all the time and depriving them of their ability to make decisions about their health, housing, or finances. Psychological abuse can be done subtly, but it can be devastating. Common signs of psychological abuse include:

  • Unreasonable demands, such as a caregiver ordering your loved one to do something they aren’t capable of doing. -Ridicule or belittling behaviors may include insulting your loved one’s sense of identity or ability to make decisions.
  • Invalidation of your loved one’s feelings, beliefs, or capabilities.
  • Unsupportive or inconsistent caregiver responses to your loved one’s needs.

If you or your loved one is being psychologically abused in the nursing home, you should report it immediately.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is a form of abuse in which a caregiver uses physical force or a person’s lack of consent to engage in sexual activity with a person. Nursing home residents are especially vulnerable to sexual abuse because they usually cannot consent to unwanted sexual activity. Residents may also be afraid to talk about being sexually abused. Sexual abuse can cause emotional and mental distress. For instance, it can lead to psychological trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Other long-term health consequences of sexual abuse include depression and anxiety.

Hiring an Attorney

A Chicago nursing home abuse lawyer well-versed in elder abuse cases is a good resource when dealing with a resident who is abused in the nursing home. An attorney can help you understand the abuser’s perspective, and advice can be given on how to address the abuse best. They can guide you through the lawsuit process and advise you on protecting your loved one during the case. In some cases, an attorney may be able to file suit against the nursing home directly. This is known as a class action suit, which would give you and other nursing home residents protection against future abuse by the nursing home.


When you leave a loved one in a nursing home, you trust the staff to properly care for your loved one. Unfortunately, many nursing homes do not provide the care that they need. This is why it is important that you make sure your loved one is well cared for by making sure the nursing home you choose is responsible and professional. Nursing home abuse can be physical, emotional, or sexual. While there are laws to help protect people from abuse, it is important to be aware of the abuse and report it as soon as possible to ensure your loved one gets the care they need.