As you guide someone through the process of choosing and living in a nursing home, you may worry about his or her safety. 

Knowing the signs of elder abuse can help protect you and any loved ones. 

Emotional and mental changes

According to FindLaw, not all signs are as straightforward as physical harm. In some cases, staff or other adults may verbally abuse and berate older people, which causes them to become withdrawn and fearful of others. If your loved one appears oddly nervous around you or is suddenly much quieter than normal, it may be a sign someone is pressuring him or her with emotional abuse. 

Any new tics or strange twitches or actions may signal a fearful response. Rapid changes in weight and poor sleep habits can also be a sign something is wrong. 

Self-care and physical issues

Some of the more visible clues an elderly resident is being abused can come from a noticeable lack of personal hygiene or dirty sheets on beds. Signs of constant dehydration or hunger can also be a clue something is wrong. In addition, mysterious bruises or burn marks on his or her skin may show up. 

This is especially true if he or she cannot account for the origin of the marks, or gives a contradictory explanation for how they appeared in the first place. The elderly are at risk for abuse due to their physical needs and dependency on others for care. Staying aware of these tell-tale signs may help you determine if a nursing home is a safe place to stay for your loved one.