What Are the Warning Signs of Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes?

And What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse

As a loved one ages, they may need help with self-care and other daily tasks. When they need more help than you and your family can give, you may face the difficult decision to place your loved one in a nursing home. Although you do this to ensure he or she is adequately cared for, in some cases, the very people you entrust with their care are actually the ones who cause them harm. So, what signs can you look for to ensure your loved one is safe?

If you are concerned a family member is being abused, you must act quickly. The Los Angeles personal injury lawyers at Levin & Nalbandyan can help you take immediate steps to ensure your loved one is safe from harm. We will thoroughly investigate your suspicions of abuse, and if abuse has occurred, we will take strong measures to ensure those responsible are held accountable. To learn more, call (213) 513-5614 to arrange a FREE consultation.

What Is Considered Elder Abuse?

Elder abuse occurs when a person harms or injures an older adult either intentionally or through negligent acts or omissions. In a nursing home setting, this abuse can be committed by a staff member, a fellow resident, or a visitor of the facility. 

Common examples of elder abuse that takes place in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities include the following:

  • Emotional abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Neglect
  • Financial abuse

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Emotional Abuse

  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Emotional or social withdrawal from others
  • Lack of desire to participate in activities
  • Low self-esteem
  • Depression
  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Suicide attempts

Physical Abuse

  • Broken bones
  • Bruises
  • Lacerations
  • Scars
  • Bite marks
  • Excessive or unnecessary restraint
  • Concussions or other head injuries
  • Social or emotional withdrawal from others
  • Fear of a staff member, fellow resident, or frequent visitor of the facility
  • Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • PTSD

Sexual Abuse

  • Fear of being alone
  • Bruising on the genitals, inner thighs, or breasts
  • Pelvic injuries
  • Decreased self-esteem
  • Difficulty sitting or walking
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • Vaginal or anal bleeding
  • Bloody or torn undergarments
  • Social or emotional withdrawal from others
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Unusual or inappropriate sexual behavior
  • Suicide attempts


  • Bedsores
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Weight loss
  • Unsafe or unsanitary living conditions
  • Untreated injuries or illnesses
  • Malnutrition 
  • Dehydration
  • Fear of being left alone
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Difficulty sleeping

Financial Abuse

  • Large bank account withdrawals
  • Large money transfers
  • Unpaid bills 
  • Changes in power of attorney, life insurance policies, property titles, wills, and trusts
  • Addition or change of accountholders
  • Missing cash, valuables, or property

What to Do If You Suspect Your Loved One Is the Victim of Abuse

If you recognize some of these signs, you must first ensure your loved one’s safety. If you feel they are in immediate danger, call 911 immediately. If you feel the threat of harm is not immediate, you may choose to move them to a different facility.

It is also important to talk with your loved one. Ask them if they were harmed or threatened in any way. Keep in mind that many victims are reluctant to admit they suffered abuse, so you might have to go with your instinct. If they deny the abuse, but you still feel it might have occurred, bring it to the attention of the authorities.

If you suspect abuse, contact Adult Protective Services. You can also contact your local Long-Term Care Ombudsman or call your local police office or sheriff’s department for assistance.

Lastly, you should speak with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer in Los Angeles. An attorney can assist with finding a facility for your loved one and work with the authorities to investigate the abuse. Your lawyer will also assist you in taking legal action against the at-fault party and work to secure the maximum compensation on your loved one’s behalf.

Schedule a FREE Consultation with a Los Angeles Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

Nursing homes and their employees have a duty to care for and protect their residents. When they cause them harm – either intentionally or through acts of negligence, they can be held liable for damages by the victim or their family members. 
If you or a loved one suffered harm or injury in a nursing home, you have the right to take legal action. Our Los Angeles nursing home abuse lawyers are dedicated to protecting the rights and safety of our clients and work tirelessly to hold wrongdoers accountable for their actions. Contact Levin & Nalbandyan today to schedule a consultation. Your initial consultation is free, and there are absolutely no fees unless we win your case. Contact us online or call (213) 513-5614 to get started.




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