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7 Types of Elder Abuse

Found in San Antonio Nursing Homes

At Maloney Law Group, P.L.L.C., we are proud to amplify the voices of elders in San Antonio nursing homes who have been neglected or abused, as well as their loved ones who just want what is best for them. No matter how many nursing home abuse and neglect cases we handle, it never becomes easy to hear from another client that their elderly loved one has been treated so poorly in a place that was meant to ensure their health and happiness. Our clients are even more shocked and alarmed because, for many of them, they never imagined that elder abuse would be something they had to worry about.

Unfortunately, the truth is that elder abuse is more common than most people realize, especially in nursing homes. Elder abuse comes in many forms, and they are not all obvious or physically injuring. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why so many people are completely taken off-guard when they first become aware that their elderly loved one has been abused, neglected, injured, or mistreated.

We know how difficult it can be sometimes to notice or acknowledge the abuse that an elderly loved one might be facing while in a nursing home, which is why we would like to take a moment to outline 7 of the most common kinds of elder abuse here. Please review the key talking points below to see if they can help you identify the harm or neglect your family member might be experiencing. If you have more questions about nursing home abuse or how to file a claim against a nursing home in San Antonio, then do not hesitate to reach out to our firm by dialing (210) 361-2997.

Schedule an initial consultation with our firm at your first opportunity.

Elderly Person in Wheelchair

What are the 7 Different Types of Elder Abuse?

As mentioned, there are 7 different forms of elder abuse that occur the most often, especially in nursing home settings and assisted living centers. If you want to do all you can to look for signs of abuse and take action, then you need to know about all of them. Keep in mind that this list is not entirely comprehensive to all types of elder abuse, so it is best to always stay attentive and supportive with your elderly loved ones.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is perhaps the most noticeable form of elderly abuse because victims are marked by the harm.

Your elder could be suffering from frequent physical abuse if they have:

  • Bruises
  • Cuts
  • Broken bones
  • Unexplained injuries

Most people assume that physical abuse is always carried out by angry caretakers. However, many cases involve two elderly residents. In either situation, the nursing home has an obligation to identify the abuse, stop it, call the police, provide immediate medical care, and notify the elder’s family. However, this does not always happen if the nursing home wants to try to save its reputation by hiding information about physical assaults that have happened there.

You might be able to notice the signs of physical abuse without seeing a cut or bruise. If your elderly loved one is nervous or scared around a particular person for seemingly no reason, then it could be a warning that they have been physically attacked by them in the past.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is unfortunately more common than most people would think. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that nearly 2% of all elders in nursing homes are sexually abused each year, or 1-in-50. This percentage could potentially be even higher due to the difficulties that elders often have with reporting sexual abuse. Many feel ashamed despite being the victim and do not want to tell anyone about what happened. Others can be threatened into silence by the offender.

In many sexual assaults in nursing homes, the victim is elderly and living with some form of physical or mental disability. For example, dementia patients are sometimes the target of sexual predators working as caretakers because they are largely debilitated and might not be able to get into a clear enough cognitive state to tell anyone about the attack.


Bad actions are not the only way that harm can be done to elders in nursing homes. Bad inaction or neglect can do just as much harm or more. Neglect occurs when a caretaker fails to provide the necessary care that an elderly resident needs, which means they can forget or decide to ignore all sorts of important duties.

Neglect in a nursing home might lead to:

  • Dehydration
  • Malnourishment
  • Bedsores
  • Missed medication

On this brief list, bedsores might be the most common sign of nursing home neglect. A bedsore forms when someone is lying in bed for an extended period without moving. Immobile elders should be repositioned every few hours to stop bedsores from forming. If this simple step in elderly care is missed to the point that bedsores form, then it is likely that they are missing many other care routines, too.

Emotional Abuse

Although emotional abuse and mental abuse are two nonphysical forms of elderly abuse in nursing homes, they can end up causing physical problems. Mental health difficulties like depression and anxiety can become so severe that they create psychosomatic symptoms. Even without physical symptoms manifesting, though, emotional abuse can be devastating.

Forms of emotional and mental abuse in nursing homes include:

  • Isolating an elder from others for long periods
  • Insulting or belittling an elder for needing help
  • Humiliating an elder in front of others
  • Yelling at an elder for any reason

Financial Abuse

Dishonest caretakers may look to elderly residents for a way of making illegitimate income through thievery and fraud. Financial abuse can be as simple as stealing money or checks from an elder’s purse, wallet, or pocketbook. It can also be as complicated as gradually coercing an elder to include the bad actor in their estate plan so that they can inherit valuables when the elder passes away.

Financial abuse is also commonly carried out by visiting relatives. Such a situation would make it more difficult to hold the nursing home liable for the abuse unless it could be proven that the nursing home helped orchestrate the theft.


Elders who have fallen on hard times or who are suffering from mental health difficulties could become self-neglectful. This behavior is usually characterized by refusing to take medications, eat, drink, rest, and so forth. If left unaddressed, then the elder can begin to experience the same harmful side effects of neglect from caretakers.

Nursing homes have a responsibility to prevent self-neglect, though. No matter how much an elder does not want to take care of themselves, the caretakers at the nursing home need to find a way to ensure they are getting proper nutrition and care. Failing to stop self-neglect or bring in a medical or psychiatric professional at the family’s permission can constitute nursing home neglect that should be answered with a claim or lawsuit.


Dementia patients have a tendency to walk around aimlessly, especially when no one is in their immediate area and interacting with them. Elopement is a highly dangerous occurrence in which an elder in a nursing home – most commonly one with dementia – is able to walk out of the assisted living center without supervision and wander away. Some cases of elopement are resolved without injury, but it is still inexcusable to allow it to happen at all. In severe cases of elopement, the elder might not be found until they have become injured or passed away due to exposure or an environmental hazard.

Do you have more questions about nursing home types and signs? Need help figuring out if you can file a claim against a nursing home in San Antonio? Dial (210) 361-2997 to connect with Maloney Law Group, P.L.L.C. and our attorneys.

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