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Negligent Security Seminar | March 2015

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    Signs that Your Loved One May Have Been Abused or Neglected in a Nursing Home or Assisted Living Facility

    As older adults begin to face health challenges that can make it difficult or unsafe for them to live independently, many families turn to nursing homes and assisted living facilities (ALFs) to provide a safe and comfortable environment. Sadly, however, abuse and neglect are common in these facilities, with Nursing Home Abuse Justice reporting that over 15,000 complaints were filed on behalf of residents in 2020 alone.

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    If your loved one resides in a nursing home or assisted living facility, the thought of them being subjected to abuse or neglect can be devastating—but the first step to protecting their well-being is to understand the signs of mistreatment. Here are some key warning signs of the common types of abuse and neglect to which nursing home/ALF residents may be subjected:

    Physical Abuse

    According to a 2018 report from the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC), 29% of nursing home abuse complaints involved physical abuse. Signs that your loved one may have been physically harmed include:

    • Unexplained bruising, broken bones, lacerations, or other injuries
    • Broken eyeglasses
    • Signs of physical restraint, such as rope marks on the wrist
    • Signs of sexual abuse, like unexplained STDs, or bruising or bleeding near the genitals
    • A staff member refusing to let you be alone with your loved one

    Financial Abuse

    Elderly residents of nursing homes and ALFs are not only vulnerable in a physical sense—they may also be susceptible to financial exploitation. Signs may include:

    • Unexplained bank account withdrawals or credit card charges
    • Changes to the person’s will, life insurance policy, power of attorney, or other important legal documents
    • Newly purchased goods, services, or subscriptions that seem unusual

    Emotional Abuse

    Even if your loved one has not been physically abused or financially exploited, they may be the victim of emotional abuse by staff or other caregivers or residents. This may be the case if they exhibit the following signs:

    • Mood or personality changes
    • Symptoms of anxiety or depression
    • Unusual behaviors that may be mistaken for dementia, such as mumbling, thumb sucking, or rocking
    • Changes in sleeping patterns
    • Instances of a caregiver belittling, controlling, or threatening your loved one


    For senior citizens, neglect can be just as harmful as active abuse. Your loved one could potentially be the victim of neglect if you notice signs such as the following:

    • Bedsores
    • Unexplained weight loss
    • Signs of under- or over-medication
    • Soiled clothing, bedding, or other unsanitary living conditions

    If your loved one is in a nursing home or ALF and you’ve noticed these or any other signs of abuse or neglect, it can be difficult to know where to turn. Consulting an attorney experienced in nursing home abuse cases can help you understand your legal options and ensure that your family member receives the care they deserve.

    At Leighton Law, we are committed to advocating on behalf of elderly and vulnerable adults and their families, and our team applies extensive knowledge of both state and federal law to ensure justice for the victims of elder abuse. Visit to learn more, or call us at 888.988.1774 to schedule a consultation

    Article by:

    John Leighton

    A nationally-recognized trial lawyer who handles catastrophic injury and death cases. He manages Leighton Law, P.A. trial lawyers, with offices in Miami and Orlando, Florida. He is President of The National Crime Victim Bar Association, author of the 2-volume textbook,Litigating Premises Security Cases, and past Chairman of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America’s Motor Vehicle, Highway & Premises Liability Section. Having won some of the largest verdicts in Florida history, Mr. Leighton is listed inThe Best Lawyers in America (14 years), “Top Lawyers” in the South Florida Legal Guide (15 years), Top 100 Florida SuperLawyer™ and Florida SuperLawyers (14 years), “Orlando Legal Elite” by Orlando Style magazine, and FloridaTrend magazine “Florida Legal Elite


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