Putting a loved one in a nursing home may be the right choice for your family, but you likely still have concerns about abuse and neglect. The National Council on Aging states that among Americans 60 and older, at least one in 10 have experienced some form of abuse.

Identifying the signs of elder abuse early on can protect your loved one from additional harm. Stopping the mistreatment as soon as possible can also help you protect his or her mental and physical health.

1. Poor personal hygiene

Your loved one may be the victim of elder abuse if he or she suddenly exhibits poor personal hygiene. Your loved one may wear dirty clothes, have unwashed hair, smell of urine and give off an unpleasant body odor.

2. Mental difficulties

Unmonitored side effects of prescriptions or medication overdoses can result in adverse mental effects. For instance, your loved one may frequently become disoriented, confused or drowsy.

3. Unexplained injuries

Rough handling during transfers and repositioning or force-feeding during medicine administration can cause unexplainable injuries. If your loved one has experienced physical abuse, he or she may have frequent dislocations, bruises, broken bones or scratches.

4. Malnourishment or dehydration

Nursing home abuse can happen when caregivers withhold adequate fluids or food from your loved one or refuse to help with feeding. If your loved one suddenly loses significant weight or has cracked lips, a swollen tongue, a dry mouth or decreased urine output, he or she may be the victim of abuse.