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How to Identify Unsafe Conditions in a Nursing Home

Senior home care is such an important part of health and happiness for elders. Although most seniors would prefer to live out the rest of their days in their homes, this isn’t always an option. Certain conditions require on-the-clock care, and senior centers may be better for individuals who could benefit from additional services and socialization. Unfortunately, the home care that you think your parents or grandparents are getting isn’t always accurate. 

Every year, around five million seniors are abused—but only a fraction of them are reported. As a caring family member or friend, you should pay particular attention to the warning signs to prevent further abuse from taking place. 

Outdated Facilities

According to Emerson Straw, a personal injury lawyer in St. Petersburg, proper treatment isn’t just about physical abuse—it’s also about ensuring the facilities are up to date and safe for those living there. If housing is not adequate, this is a serious form of neglect. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 1,800 nursing home residents die annually because of fall-related injuries—and it remains the leading cause of death across senior homes. Those who survive falling accidents may then suffer from a severely reduced quality of life. These falls might occur because of hazardous facilities, or if they aren’t receiving the proper rehab treatment and/or assistance with walking. 

Physical Discrepancies 

One of the biggest warning signs of abuse include physical marks. This includes unexplained bruises, sprains, welts, broken glasses, and other nicks. Some physical discrepancies aren’t just a direct result of physical abuse, however. For example, might notice your loved one losing a substantial amount of weight or excessively dry skin. Both could be due to dehydration or malnutrition, which could indicate they aren’t being properly fed. If you notice a physical mark, always report it right away and seek to find answers. Too many unanswered instances are likely not a coincidence. 


One of the biggest signs of neglect is uncleanliness. If you notice that your loved one is dirty, smelly, or has uncleanly bedding and living space, those are all indicators of poor treatment. Nursing home staff are expected to assist their seniors with good hygiene and proper care. 

Many people have difficulty with some of the most basic needs, like cleaning their bodies, brushing their teeth and hair, getting dressed, and going to the bathroom. When they aren’t capable of doing these things independently, there are many reasons why staff would fail to help. This could be due to a short-staffed, or simply because they aren’t properly attending to their jobs. Either way, it’s a form of mistreatment that no senior person should suffer from. 

Signs of Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse can take a major toll on a senior’s psychological health. Signs of emotional abuse among elderly include noticeably unusual behavior like mumbling, rocking, or sucking their thumb. Psychological abuse may translate into fear as well. Pay attention to how your loved one behaves around caregivers. They might flinch or quiver in their presence. 

Depression could also settle in. This would make your loved one withdraw from friends and family, perhaps not wanting to speak as much or resigning to passive actions, like laying or sitting throughout the day. 

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