Both nursing home abuse and neglect are a growing concern in the United States. While there are laws in place to protect elder persons’ rights, the incidence rates for both are far too high.

While abuse refers to the maltreatment of a person, neglect refers to the failure of a caregiver to provide a resident with proper care. Though many people assume abuse is far worse, the truth is that neglect can be just as dangerous, and even deadly.

How negligence occurs

Negligence can occur in a number of different ways. However, according to, some types of neglect are more prevalent than others in nursing homes. Common examples of neglect include the following:

  • Isolation
  • Malnutrition
  • Lack of proper care
  • Improper medication management
  • Falls
  • Dehydration

Ongoing neglect can result in the serious harm or even death of a resident. Families can protect elderly loved ones by keeping an eye out for signs of neglect, which may include but are not limited to sudden weight loss, depression, agitation, bedsores, contusions, filth, bruises and open sores.

The consequences of ongoing neglect

According to Nursing Home Abuse Justice, ongoing neglect can have significant adverse consequences on a resident’s emotional and physical health and well-being. In terms of physical health, neglect can lead to untreated dental or medical issues, which can grow into constantly or life-threatening complications. Victims of neglect often become malnourished and more prone to illness and injury. Many also develop dehydration, fatigue or anemia. In some elderly individuals, these health consequences result in death.

The emotional consequences of neglect are just as damaging. Victims of neglect often develop depression or anxiety or become fearful of others. They undergo personality changes and may exhibit aggression or distrust. Insomnia and sleep loss are also common outcomes of neglect, as is substance abuse and suicidal behavior.