Recognizing The Signs Of Physical, Emotional And Sexual Elder Abuse

Those who have a family member living in a nursing home should watch out for the signs of physical, sexual and emotional abuse.

Many elderly nursing home residents in Arkansas and throughout the country are abused every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is believed that over 500,000 older adults are abused or neglected on an annual basis. To prevent the harmful effects of nursing home neglect and abuse, those with a family member living in a nursing home should watch out for the signs of physical, emotional and sexual abuse.


The National Center on Elder Abuse defines physical abuse as the use of physical force that may result in impairment, physical pain or bodily injury. For example, when physical abuse occurs, a caretaker may shake, slap, pinch, kick, burn or force-feed the elderly person in his or her care. Nursing home residents who are physically abused may incur bruises, black eyes, sprains, dislocations, skull fractures or broken eyeglasses and experience sudden changes in behavior.


According to the NCEA, emotional abuse is the infliction of pain, distress or anguish through nonverbal or verbal actions. For instance, if an elderly person is the victim of emotional abuse, his or her caretaker may prevent him or her from seeing his or her family members and may harass, intimidate, intimidate, threaten or insult him or her. Those who have an elderly family member living in a nursing home may find that their loved one becomes non-responsive, non-communicative and overly emotional or exhibits unusual behaviors if he or she is emotionally abused.


When an elderly person is sexually abused, he or she may be forced to engage in non-consensual sexual activities with another person, like unwanted touching, rape, sodomy or coerced nudity, states the NCEA. The signs of sexual abuse include:

  • Torn, stained or bloody underclothing
  • Bruising around the genital area or the breasts
  • Vaginal or anal bleeding that cannot be explained

Additionally, if an elderly person is sexually abused, he or she may contract a venereal disease or genital infection that cannot be explained.

The impact of abuse

According to the NCEA, elderly people who are abused have a 300 percent higher risk of death in comparison to older people who have never been abused or neglected. Additionally, in contrast with elderly people who have never been victimized, abused nursing home residents have higher levels of psychological distress and lower perceived self-efficacy.

Nursing home residents in Arkansas who are abused may also experience increased health problems, like heart issues, depression, anxiety, chronic pain and digestive issues. If you or one of your family members was abused in a nursing home, speak with an attorney to find out what legal steps you should take next.

Keywords: nursing home, abuse, neglect