A nursing home caretaker in Colorado has been charged with abusing an elderly patient. The investigation of this case began last year in Luzerne County.


According to court papers, Tonya Harlos, 27 years old, was an employee of Guardian Elder Care Center and caring for an elderly dementia patient. The patient claimed Harlos fought her, grabbing and bruising her arms in the process. She also claimed Harlos covered her face with a pillow and took one of her dolls.

Raymond Luczak, an elderly man who lives next door to Harlos, described her as “nothing but nice to him.”

Though Harlos claimed she was defending herself against the elderly patient who was trying to bite and punch her and denying that she covered the patient’s face with a pillow, another facility worker told police she personally saw Harlos hold the pillow over the patient’s face.

“I’m shocked. I didn’t thinks she was, I didn’t think she was that type. She didn’t look like the mean type,” said Luczak.

This incident speaks to the importance of thorough research before putting your loved one into a nursing home. And when you think you’ve done your research, do some more, as things obviously aren’t always as they appear.

Many of us will face the difficult decision of whether or not we need to check our loved one into a nursing home. If we decide it’s the best option, we do so because we want our loved ones to be taken care of and monitored with better quality than we think we’re capable of. And often times, as national data backs up, our loved ones are being abused and neglected by their nursing home caretakers. This can be truly frustrating and heartbreaking.

Not only should you do your research prior to checking your loved one into a nursing home, but you should be aware of warning signs of abuse or neglect once your loved one is admitted.

Physical signs of abuse include…

  • bed sores
  • unexplained bruises
  • scarring
  • broken or fractured bones
  • signs of restraint, like rope burns or bruising around the wrist
  • symptoms of rape or sexual assault
  • drug overdose

Emotional symptoms include…

  • arguments and reoccurring anger or tension between the caregiver and the elder
  • personality changes in the elderly person
  • inability to see the elderly person alone without the caregiver present
  • verbal abuse by the caregiver toward the elder person

If you notice any of these symptoms, seek legal advice immediately. At Darrell Castle & Associates, we’re no stranger to nursing home abuse cases and handle each victim with the compassion and respect they’re entitled to while fighting for the justice they deserve.

If your loved one has been abused or neglected, contact us today by filling out the “Get in Touch” form below or by calling us at (901) 327-1212. One of our experienced Memphis personal injury attorneys will be ready to speak with you free of charge about your situation.