Leaving your older relative at a nursing home is supposed to alleviate stress, but it can bring on even more challenges. You brought them there expecting a certain level of care, and it doesn’t help anyone if they don’t receive what they need. They may not want—or be able—to report abuse or neglect themselves, so it could fall on you to notice the warning signs.

Appearance

Sometimes you can see signs of mistreatment very quickly, such as bruises and cuts. Where the injury occurs can affect how easily you can see it, so be sure to look where clothing could cover something up. Weight loss, dirty clothes and bed sores might also be telltale signs of neglect.

Behavior

If your loved one is being mistreated, knowing all the potential warning signs of abuse is important. On top of what your loved one looks like, make sure to keep track of how they act as well. Whether it is aches and pains with no physical cause or unpredictable bad moods, behavior can be just as telling as visual signs.

It can be easy to assign behavioral changes to old age, but they could be reactions to abuse or neglect. A good way to tell whether mistreatment is the cause is to compare the changes in behavior to the person’s previous demeanor. Sudden mood swings and out of character actions are rarely signs of mental deterioration, which tends to be slower than reactions to abuse.

The thought that your loved one is being abused can be terrifying. Knowing which signs to look for is the first step to addressing a potential problem.