7 Forms of Nursing Home Abuse to Be Aware Of

When you place a loved one in a care facility, you place profound trust in that facility to care for them. Discovering that a family member has suffered abuse in a place where they were meant to be safe and cared for is the last thing someone wants to go through.

Elder law is dedicated to the protection of our seniors, and being aware of the various forms of nursing home abuse is the first step to ensuring their dignity and safety are upheld. In this article, we’ll discover how you can become an advocate for those who may not be able to do so for themselves. 

What Is Nursing Home Abuse?

Nursing home abuse is any form of mistreatment or neglect that occurs in a long-term care facility. It can occur at the hands of staff, other residents, or even visitors. While many facilities provide excellent care for their residents, it’s essential to educate yourself on the signs and forms of nursing home abuse so you can recognize it and take action immediately.

Forms of Nursing Home Abuse

There are various forms of nursing home abuse, including physical, emotional, financial, sexual, self-neglect, abandonment, and psychological abuse. Let’s explore each in more detail and the consequences of each in elder law.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse includes any intentional harm caused to a resident by another individual. This can include assault, battery, or even medication mismanagement. When held accountable, elder law offers legal remedies to help compensate those who have suffered physical abuse.

Emotional Abuse

While emotional and psychological abuse may seem similar, there is a distinct difference. Emotional abuse refers to any verbal or non-verbal actions that cause mental distress in a resident. This can include insults, threats, intimidation, or isolation. Elders who suffer from emotional abuse may experience depression, anxiety, or a decline in mental and emotional well-being.

Financial Abuse

This form of abuse involves the exploitation of an elder’s financial resources by an individual responsible for their care. It can include theft, forgery, or taking advantage of a resident’s vulnerable state. While most forms of abuse affect the victims’ families inadvertently, financial abuse impacts their families more directly.

Sexual Abuse

This type of abuse is non-consensual sexual contact between a resident and another individual. It’s essential to recognize that any form of sexual activity without consent, whether it’s physical or verbal, is considered sexual abuse. Elders who have been sexually abused may experience physical injuries, changes in behavior, or display signs of fear or anxiety.


Self-neglect occurs when a resident is unable to care for themselves properly due to physical or mental limitations. It can include not taking medication, not eating, living in unsanitary conditions, or refusing necessary medical treatment. In these cases, the facility may be held responsible if it fails to provide proper care and supervision.

Regardless, it’s crucial to stay aware of such possibilities so you may be able to intervene when you see the signs.


Abandonment refers to the desertion of an elder by their caregiver or responsible party. This can include leaving a resident alone for extended periods, failing to provide necessary care or support, or even not informing family members of changes in the resident’s condition.

Psychological Abuse

Psychological abuse is any form of behavior that causes fear, trauma, or distress in a resident. It can include verbal or non-verbal actions, such as threats, intimidation, or humiliation. This type of abuse can have long-lasting effects on an elder’s mental and emotional well-being and is considered a violation of their rights.

If your loved one has experienced any of these forms of abuse, it’s vital to seek legal assistance immediately. An elder law attorney can help you understand your rights and navigate the legal process to hold those responsible for their actions.

PMHP: Elder Law Attorneys for You

At PMHP Law, our experienced elder law attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights and dignity of seniors. If you suspect your loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation.

We’ll fight tirelessly to ensure justice is served, and your loved one’s well-being is prioritized. Remember, together, we can make a difference and protect the vulnerable members of our society.