Signs and symptoms of elder abuse and neglect in care

Signs and symptoms of elder abuse and neglect in care include but are not limited to:

  • dehydration, malnutrition (without illness-related cause), untreated bedsores, and poor personal  hygiene unattended or untreated health problems hazardous or unsafe living conditions/arrangements (for example, improper wiring, no heat, or no running water)
  • unsanitary and unclean living conditions (for example, dirt, fleas, lice on person, soiled bedding, faecal/urine smell, inadequate clothing)
  • a nursing home resident’s report of being mistreated
  • an injury that has not been cared for properly
  • an injury that is inconsistent with explanation for its cause pain from touching
  • cuts, puncture wounds, burns, bruises, welts
  • poor coloration, sunken eyes or cheeks
  • inappropriate administration of medication
  • frequent use of hospital or health care/doctor-shopping
  • lack of necessities such as food, water, or utilities
  • lack of personal effects, pleasant living environment, personal items
  • forced isolation

Behavioral Signs:

  • Fear; Anxiety; Agitation; Anger
  • Isolation, Withdrawal; Depression
  • Non-responsiveness; Resignation; Ambivalence
  • Contradictory statements; Implausible stories
  • Hesitation to talk openly; Confusion or disorientation

Signs by Caregiver:

  • Prevents elder from speaking to or seeing visitors
  • Anger, indifference, aggressive behaviour toward elder
  • History of substance abuse, mental illness, criminal behaviour, or family violence
  • Lack of affection towards elder
  • Flirtation or coyness as possible indicator of inappropriate sexual relationships
  • Conflicting accounts of incidents
  • Withholds affection
  • Talks of elder as a burden

From a study and research initiative by the Aged Care Crisis team.

If you, a family member, friend or person you care for is concerned about a possible or actual situation of abuse of someone who lives in an aged care home lease contact the Complaints Investigation Scheme on 1800 550 552 to report the situation and to discuss options. This call can be made anonymously, or can be kept confidential if you wish.

Home and Community Care National Aged Care Advocacy Program Lotterywest Supported
Call 9479 7566 for a free, confidential and independent service