Millions of older Americans are living in nursing homes or assisted living facilities and roughly seven percent of complaints on long-term care residences involve abuse, neglect or exploitation—according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging.
Better Business Bureau offers insight on identifying warning signs of elder abuse and selecting care facilities.
Indicators of exploitation can be financial, physical or emotional, including: unusual cash withdrawals, investments or high-dollar purchases; adjusted wills, trusts or powers of attorney; poor skin condition, rashes, lice, infections, dehydration, malnutrition, drastic weight loss or unexplained injuries; or socially-withdrawn or non-communicative behavior.
- On site visits, do facilities appear safe, clean and organized? Do residents seem well cared for and in good spirits? Is the food appetizing and adjustable to dietary restrictions? Is there a daily activity schedule or do occupants seem under-engaged?
For guidance, turn to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Center on Elder Abuse at ncea.aoa.gov. Report serious incidences to local law enforcement. Notify local Adult Protective Services’ offices and Area Agencies on Aging.