Poor Elder Care: Do You Know the 5 Hidden Warning Signs?

Young doctor holds the old  woman's hand


Young doctor holds the old  woman's hand


It can be extremely worrying and upsetting to discover that a loved one is not getting the care and attention you expect them to receive in their nursing home.

The problem is that it is not always immediately obvious that things are not as they should be and you often have to look hard or know what some of the warning signs are. Here is a look at five of the hidden warning signs that may indicate your loved one is not being looked after as you would hope and want for them.

You need to act on any problems that you notice and it helps if you know what to do if you suspect elder abuse or neglect and want something done about it immediately.


Noticeable change

If your loved one displays some noticeable physical or emotional changes, this should definitely be a cause for concern.

Any signs that they are becoming withdrawn or uncommunicative, as well as not taking care of themselves in the way that normally do, need to be investigated. Emotional abuse does not have a physical manifestation and is therefore troublesome to detect. You therefore need to see if they are agitated or withdrawn and experience a sudden loss in appetite, which can be vital clues to indicate there might be a problem, but should definitely not be taken as absolute proof of emotional abuse or neglect without further investigation or questioning.


Staffing issues

A well run nursing home can often successfully retain their staff, who are subsequently motivated and enjoy their work.

If there is a high turnover of staff at the nursing home, it may be a sign that they are operating on stretched resources and if there is a lack of leadership amongst the caregivers, this could potentially lead to corners being cut and may possibly result in residents not receiving the right level of care and respect that they deserve.


Open your eyes

When you visit your loved one in the nursing home, open your eyes and take a look around at what is happening and how the nursing staff are coping.

Constantly ringing phones and unanswered call lights are not a good sign and can often be an indication that the nursing staff either can’t cope with the workload or worse, don’t really care about their residents or their wellbeing.



Sadly, one of the most regular signs of neglect in a care home environment is when some of the residents are displaying clear signs of dehydration and malnourishment.

A lack of suitably qualified staff can sometimes mean that residents fail to receive the required level of care that they need and don’t receive the right amount of food and fluids to keep them hydrated and as healthy as possible through getting the right nutrition.

You need to act swiftly if you suspect that your loved one is showing any signs of dehydration and they are not being sufficiently cared for or monitored.



There are many aspects to neglect and abuse in a nursing home environment and although you understand that your loved one may change slightly to adapt to their new surroundings and way of life, you still need to listen to what you gut instinct is telling you.

Use your intuition to prompt a more probing line of questioning so that you can establish whether your loved one needs help and protection form any potential abuse or neglect.

Don’t ignore any warning signs and act for the sake of your loved one and for your own peace of mind as well.


Len Haberman, Esq., is a devoted nursing home lawyer in the northeast. He likes to share what he has found with others in hopes of saving them from the heartache of nursing home abuse. You can read his informative posts on many blogs and websites online.














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