9 Nursing Home Red Flags You Need To Know

Sometimes, putting elderly parents in nursing homes becomes necessary to ensure their well-being and evolving health needs are met. That’s why you need to carefully consider options before choosing an assisted living facility for your loved ones.

However, not all nursing homes provide the kind of attention expected of them. It’s estimated that 1 in 10 senior citizens living in these facilities face abuse or neglect. Similarly, 2 out of 3 nursing home staff members have admitted to mistreating their weak, aged residents.

Therefore, you should be aware of red flags indicating the subpar standards of unsafe conditions in these nursing homes. Here are some warning signs you should be wary of before reaching a decision:

1. High turnover rates

One of the obvious red flags includes a higher-than-usual turnover rate. Nursing home staff members coming and leaving the place quickly may indicate there’s something wrong. For example, they may be fired after abusing or neglecting the residents. A high turnover rate showcases mismanagement as well.

Moreover, the caregiver-to-residence ratio matters a lot. If an old folks’ home doesn’t employ enough staff members for all residents then your loved ones have a higher chance of being neglected.

2. Uncooperative staff

Instances of neglect often become apparent from the nursing home staff’s careless, unresponsive, and suspicious attitude. For instance, if the nursing home staff doesn’t answer your questions when you’re visiting, it may indicate neglect. Also, if call lights go unanswered or the staff does not seem attentive enough, you should look further into this matter and even take legal action against their negligence.

You should also know how can you sue a nursing home for neglect and demand compensation. Hire a nursing home abuse/neglect attorney, draft a legal complaint, and file a lawsuit. The case will go through a thorough discussion and discovery phase. In the end, the defendant’s attorney will come up with a settlement offer. You can either accept it or take the case to trial, but navigate this process under the guidance and supervision of experienced nursing home abuse attorneys to ensure you get the best result.

3. Physical symptoms

It’s easier to notice the physical symptoms of abuse and neglect on your loved ones. Bruises, scratches, or cuts are telltale signs of your older adults being mistreated by either the convalescent home caregivers or another resident. Moreover, the resident may seem emotionally withdrawn, disinterested in their favorite pastimes, going through mood swings, or displaying other signs of emotional distress. Data shows that around 1 in 4 nursing home residents are victims of physical abuse in nursing homes.

4. Poor visiting policies

The lack of a proper visiting policy can be a warning sign that something sinister is happening in a nursing home. When staff prevents the residents’ relatives and friends from visiting them freely, it may be because they are hiding something, such as the senior citizens’ dire living conditions.

You should have complete freedom to visit your loved ones within the assisted living facility’s regular business hours without any prior notice. Preventing unscheduled, unannounced visits must tip you off about possible abuse.

5. Malnourishment 

Sometimes, the signs of abuse or neglect aren’t that obvious. In that case, you have to be thorough in your investigative endeavors. Consider malnourishment, a telltale sign of nursing home neglect.

It is estimated that 1 in 5 nursing home residents are malnourished because the facility doesn’t have the proper means to give food to residents. This could be because of a lack of funds for proper meals or understaffing.

6. Avoiding a caregiver

Many nursing home residents are afraid of reporting instances of abuse or neglect. That’s because of the fear of retaliation from the staff members. They are reluctant to voice their concerns as they don’t want their caregivers to punish them for whistleblowing and make their lives even more miserable.

That’s why you should look for anyone your loved ones avoid. If they don’t want someone to be in their room or cater to their health needs, take these fears seriously. That person might be the one harming them or he may just be rude to them.

7. Rampant uncleanliness

Studies show that many US convalescent homes are losing money and staff, thereby becoming unable to provide quality care to their residents. A sign of high turnover rates manifests as rampant unclean, unsanitary conditions in nursing homes. Understaffed retirement facilities are often riddled with many unpleasant odors, indicating that the senior citizens living there aren’t being taken care of properly.

Bedrooms and restrooms may smell awful, showing how the staff is either too lazy or too preoccupied to cater to their patrons’ needs. Uncleanliness can tip you off about the facility’s declining quality. 

8. The facility is too loud

A nursing home must cultivate a calm, soothing environment where senior citizens can thrive without stress or anxiety. However, loud noise can make older people uncomfortable or worsen the condition of someone with Alzheimer’s disease.

Many assisted living facilities will use different ways to reduce excessive noise and make senior citizens feel more at ease. A lack of calmness should be a major warning sign.

9. The facility is too quiet

At the same time, facilities that are abnormally quiet might indicate that residents are discouraged from interacting with one another. Inadequate socializing opportunities translate to the staff’s carelessness and unwillingness to cater to the residents’ mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Ensure your loved ones are going to a place where they have lots of weekly and monthly activities planned for their amusement.


Nursing homes are designed to provide senior citizens with the attention and assistance they need for enhanced quality of life. However, many nursing homes are guilty of abusing and mistreating their residents. Carefully observe the warning signs mentioned in this blog when looking for a nursing home. If you think your loved ones were mistreated, hire a lawyer and file a lawsuit against that facility. Knowing these red flags will thus ensure the well-being and dignity of your loved ones.