More than one million older Americans live in retirement communities, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes across the United States. Although these facilities offer much-needed support to seniors who struggle to live on their own, some unscrupulous nurses, personal care assistants and administrators end up neglecting residents. If you have a loved one who lives in a nursing home, you should watch out for signs of elderly neglect and abuse. Being aware of the following symptoms could save your loved one from years of mistreatment.

Formal Notices of Unpaid Utility Bills, Property Taxes or Other Expenses

Seniors living in nursing homes often receive family assistance with managing their finances. Still, nursing home residents may have some control over their finances. In many cases, seniors are capable of managing their money upon moving into nursing homes but lose that ability over time, potentially leaving them open to financial exploitation.

As a family member, pay attention to formal correspondence from insurance providers, local utility companies and government agencies. Signs of mounting late fees or canceled policies, for example, could mean your loved one is unknowingly being taken advantage of by nursing home staff.

The Transmission of Diseases

Although seniors are typically less likely to engage in risky behaviors than their younger counterparts, seniors can still catch serious bloodborne diseases such as HIV or hepatitis C.

As part of most nursing homes’ intake processes, they screen seniors for diseases. If your loved one ends up with a bloodborne disease after living in a nursing home, this could be a sign of sexual abuse.

Aside from stopping potential abuse, disease testing is a solid part of anybody’s general wellness. Signing your loved one up for such tests could prolong their lives.

Spending Habits Not Seen Before

Getting into other people’s finances is considered taboo. As such, you may avoid discussing finances with your loved ones. However much you want to avoid personal financial discussions, asking your family member for joint bank account access is a great way to prevent financial exploitation before it gets out of hand.

With joint bank account access, you can check up on your senior’s financial wellness. Finding never-before-seen spending habits from a nursing home resident is nothing short of odd. Although this could be totally legitimate, abrupt financial outflows could mean your relative is getting taken advantage of.

Lacking Important Medical Aids

As people age, they typically lose visual, auditory and physical acuity. This is all part of getting old.

Since nursing homes offer more intensive care than retirement communities or assisted living facilities, your loved one likely needs help from one or more medical aids. Common medical aids include:

• Prescription glasses
• Walkers
• Hearing aids
• Wheelchairs

If you notice your relative’s medical aids are in poor shape, this could indicate neglect. One of the many duties of nursing homes is making sure residents have these items.

Although these signs aren’t guaranteed to be linked to nursing home abuse, they’re certainly causes for concern. Keeping your eyes open could help prevent elderly neglect or abuse before it gets worse.