When our loved ones grow older and need extra assistance, we may seek the services that nursing homes provide. We trust the staff at these facilities to treat our loved ones with care and respect. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

Nursing home neglect is a serious problem throughout the United States. Thinking of your loved one in an unsafe or unsanitary situation can be very frightening. But if you know the warning signs of nursing home neglect, you can take measures to protect the ones closest to you:

  1. Poor hygiene: This is one of the most easily detectable signs. If you suspect your loved one hasn’t had a bath, their teeth brushed, nails clipped or hair combed, it could be a sign of neglect. In a nursing home, residents should have all of their hygiene needs met. Additionally, their living environment should be sanitary.
  2. Not trusting staff: If your loved one doesn’t want a certain staff member taking care of them, they may not be receiving adequate care from that person. Even if your loved one doesn’t say anything out loud, perhaps they seem scared, anxious or uncomfortable when a specific worker enters the room.
  3. Emotional issues: Neglect can result in poor emotional and mental health. Perhaps your loved one becomes uncharacteristically angry, anxious or withdrawn. They may even start displaying symptoms of depression, such as a lack of interest in activities they usually enjoy.
  4. Lack of mobility: Nursing home staff should help residents remain active whenever possible. Good mobility is very important for older adults. Your loved one may lose mobility if staff members leave them in bed for hours on end. They could also develop bedsores or infections.

Along with these signs, there are also indicators that your loved one could be at risk for neglect. These may include:

  • Frantic staff
  • High staff turnover
  • Unanswered calls

Staffing can be a big indicator of how your loved one is treated. If the facility seems understaffed, your loved one may not get the attention they need. If staff members seem uninterested or indifferent about their jobs, they may not take the wellbeing of residents seriously.

All of this can be worrying. However, it’s important that you don’t rush to conclusions – these are signs, not proof, of neglect.

If you suspect neglect, you should speak with your loved one and voice your concerns to the nursing home administrators. If your suspicions continue, you may want to talk to an attorney experienced in nursing home neglect about your concerns.