The children and loved ones of the elderly and indigent face a difficult choice. Can they trust someone else with the care of their loved one? For some, the decision is made for them and they have to trust a facility. But what happens when you suspect that your trust has been misplaced?

“Nursing home abuse is very real,” commented Matt Schultz, an attorney with the Levin, Papantonio law firm who practices in the area of personal injury and handles nursing home abuse cases. “It is real and it often goes unreported. If you suspect that someone is suffering from nursing home abuse, contact a licensed attorney and discuss their rights.”

Unexplained bruises, odd explanations from caregivers and suspicious behavior are just a few signs that questions need to be asked.

Just last year, had it not been for a cook and a janitor at an assisted-living facility, about 16 people would have been abandoned when the state of California shut down a facility. Those people were unable to be relocated and a majority of the other staff had already left. Maurice Rowland, the cook, and Miguel Alvarez, the janitor, stepped up where the state had fallen short.

“If we left, they wouldn’t have nobody,” Alvarez told NPR.

Their story is just one of many that showcases how those in nursing and assisted-living facilities can be abandoned and abused by the very people responsible for their care, leaving someone else to have to fight for the neglected.

In another case, a woman became skeptical of her mother’s nursing home when her mother was found in several suspicious situations. Watch the investigation below from 16:9.

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions,” Mr. Schultz said. “If you think something is wrong, ask. Your loved one’s wellbeing – and even life – may depend on it.”

Joshua is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. You can follow him on Twitter @Joshual33.