Nobody wants to think about elder abuse, especially in a care facility. Unfortunately, it’s occurred in almost every state in the U.S. Nursing home abuse can happen to both men and women in a number of different situations.

Five Types of Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home abuse is not simply one form of abuse. It happens when a caretaker unintentionally or intentionally harms a nursing home resident. This kind of abuse is known to cause trauma and medical emergencies due to pain and suffering.

Psychological Abuse

Psychological abuse is also known as emotional abuse. This can occur through both verbal and nonverbal acts.

This can include humiliation, harassment, and intimidation. Verbal assaults are also considered emotional abuse. Staff that uses threats to motivate residents frequently cause anxiety and depression. 

Financial Exploitation

Misusing a resident’s finances is a crime. Not only does this involve stealing cash, but it also covers cashing checks without authorization. 

Signs that a resident is being taken advantage of include unusual spending behavior, unexplained loans, and missing valuables. Residents may feel anxious about discussing finances with family members. 


Self-neglect refers to a mentally incompetent resident who is intentionally or unintentionally threatening their safety. This can appear in a variety of ways including hunger strikes and unkept personal hygiene.

Mentally competent residents who refuse treatments do not qualify for this category. If a person willingly decides they do not wish to eat or wants to skip hygiene practices this is not considered a form of neglect.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse often results in both physical and mental distress. This can cause a resident to feel extremely depressed and anxious. Those who have been sexually abused are more often to withdraw from others.

Sexual abuse at a nursing home is non-consensual. This may involve unwanted touching, sodomy, and coerced nudity. Two consenting adults in the facility who decide to have sex do not fit this category.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is often easier to see than emotional or sexual abuse. There may be marks or unexplained bruises on various areas of the body. 

Hitting, beating, striking, and slapping are all obvious signs of physical abuse. Less obvious signs include shoving and pinching. Using physical restraints unnecessarily is considered a serious form of physical abuse.

Unintentional vs. Intentional Harm

Many people assume abuse is done with the intention to hurt. This is not always the case in long-term facilities. Instances of nursing home abuse can vary widely

Neglect is a very serious form of abuse. Regardless of the reasons, neglect can cause residents to become emotionally agitated. It can also cause falls, injuries, infections, and dehydration.

Neglect can include prolonged meals and lack of pain management. Residents that have not received basic hygiene may have unbrushed hair or wear the same clothes for multiple days. 

Some residents are hesitant to report abuse because they think the incident is justified. Talking to legal counsel allows the complaint to be handled with dignity so that long-term residents get the help they deserve. 

Disclaimer: The statements, opinions, and data contained in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of Credihealth and the editor(s). 

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