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How to distinguish the different types of elder abuse and neglect

On Behalf of | Jul 29, 2022 | Nursing Home Negligence

If you have an elderly loved one being cared for in a New Mexico nursing home, you expect them to be treated with dignity and respect. Sadly, abuse and neglect sometimes occur. Here’s how you can distinguish the different types.

Physical abuse

Physical elder abuse occurs when a caretaker or someone else hits, kicks or physically restrains the resident. Signs include bruises, cuts, broken bones, sprains and even burns. Although elderly people can accidentally injure themselves, abuse can be spotted when there are repeated signs.

Sexual abuse

Elder sexual abuse involves signs like bruising in the genital area or inner thighs, bleeding from the genitals or anus, pelvic injuries, pain in the genital area and even sexually-transmitted infections.

Elder neglect

Neglect happens when a caretaker ignores the resident and fails to provide them with the expected standard of care. You can tell this type of abuse is happening when your loved one has consistently poor personal hygiene, is in a dirty bed and pajamas, has significant weight loss or has an untreated infection or injury.


Sometimes, elderly nursing home residents self-neglect. If they are unable to maintain basic personal hygiene, dress, feed themselves or manage their well-being or finances, these are all signs that they might be self-neglecting.

Emotional abuse

Elderly people show signs of emotional abuse when they act withdrawn and are more fearful. They often avoid eye contact, are less verbal, may cry and could show noticeable personality changes.

Financial elder abuse

Financial elder abuse occurs when a caretaker or other trusted individual steals money from the person. They might trick the individual into giving them cash, using their debit or credit card or writing them checks. Telltale signs include unpaid bills, changes in bank accounts or power of attorney, unusual withdrawals or missing valuables.

Any of these signs should raise red flags. You have the right to protect your loved one and report the abuse.


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