Understanding Neglect of the Elderly

Neglect is a common type of abuse in nursing homes. Whether the neglect is happening intentionally or unintentionally, it is important to understand when it is happening and the steps you can take to deal with it. If you feel like your elderly loved one may be experiencing neglect, please continue reading to learn about the signs, effects, how to talk to them, and how to get help.


Neglect is when a nursing home does not provide basic needs for a resident.

Victims of Neglect

Often, people that experience neglect may:

  • Have dementia or Alzheimers
  • Have a disability
  • Be lonely or not have friends
  • Be new to the facility

Types of Neglect

Unintentional Neglect

Neglect may not happen on purpose. It could be a result of poorly trained staff, poor communication skills between the staff members, poor communication skills between the patient and the staff, or the facility could be understaffed.

Intentional Neglect

Neglect that is intentional can happen because a staff member gets frustrated, stressed, or wants to punish a resident for their behavior.

Examples of Neglect

Some common ways a patient is neglected is when they are deprived of something that they need. This could include clothes, exercise, food, hygiene, medicine, safety, comfort, shelter, therapy, water, etc.

Effects and Signs of Neglect

Here is a list of the effects and signs that your loved one may be experiencing neglect in their nursing home.

  • Bedsores
  • Being left dirty
  • Changes in mood
  • Dehydration
  • Desertion in a public place
  • Malnutrition
  • Unsafe living conditions
  • Living conditions that are unsafe or unsanitary
  • Weight loss

How To Talk To Your Loved Ones About Neglect

When talking about abuse or neglect with your loved ones, it may be a hard topic to discuss. When it comes to neglect, a patient may not even realize they are experiencing it. Make sure you are patient and listen to what they are saying. You should do everything possible to support them and help them get to the bottom of things. If you want to discuss abuse with your loved ones but are unsure how, here are some questions you can ask:

  • Do you feel safe in this facility?
  • Are you happy in this facility?
  • Do you feel like the staff takes good care of you?
  • What is your favorite part of living here?
  • What is your least favorite part?
  • Do you socialize often with other residents?
  • Are you sleeping well?

Getting Help

If you suspect your loved one is experiencing neglect in their nursing home, you can call us to get more information on how to handle this situation. We offer free consultations and can provide you with more information on how to handle the incident. You can call us at 203-208-3065.

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