Elder abuse is the abuse or neglect of a senior citizen by his or her family, caretakers, or nursing home staff. While it is unthinkable that your loved one’s long-term care facility would harm them intentionally or neglect their care, it is far more common than you might think. One study from 1993 surveyed Certified Nursing Assistants at a nursing home, and it reported that 17% of them pushed or grabbed a resident at some point. In 2010, another study revealed that 50% of nursing home staffers mistreated a patient in the last 12 months.
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Abuse of seniors continues happening among long-term care facilities and nursing homes throughout the United States. Trends show that neglect is increasing as the population grows older, the life expectancy increases, and more people are dependent on assisted living and caretakers. As of 2010, 13% of the population was 65 or older—by 2050, nearly 1 in 5 of all U.S. residents will be older than 85. Preventing further abuse requires us to report it when it happens and hold negligent organizations accountable in a court of law.
Elder abuse is not limited to physical mistreatment like shoving, grabbing, or pushing. Abuse can also be emotional or psychological, financial, and sexual. One study found that any type of abuse was likely to cause a senior’s lack of health and well-being—abused elders are 300% more likely to die in the two years following abuse than those who do not experience mistreatment.
Give your loved one the justice and financial compensation they deserve—speak with a Kansas City nursing home abuse lawyer at Peterson & Associates, P.C. for a free consultation.
Physical abuse is the most common form of elder abuse, making up 29% of all reported incidents. Unfortunately, abuse of this kind can be hard to spot as abusive staffers will report bruises or injuries as “accidents” and “falls.” The nature of abuse means for every reported incident, there are many more that go unseen or unknown.
Sex abuse of nursing home residents is a particularly alarming trend-70.7% of all elder sexual abuse took place at a nursing home facility at the hands of a staffer. Unfortunately, reporting can be difficult, especially for vulnerable adults. Only 30% of cases are ever reported.
Unfortunately, nursing home staffers can take advantage of the trust a senior will put in their caretakers. Residents are sometimes pushed to provide their private financial information like credit card numbers, account information, and more. More than 5 million seniors are estimated to be the victims of financial abuse.
In 1993, a survey of Certified Nursing Assistants (mentioned above) found that 51% of CNAs had yelled at a resident at some point, and 23% insulted or swore at them. This behavior creates a deeply troubling and stressful environment-one that most elders are too afraid to report. The lack of mental well-being can contribute to a shortened life expectancy and a vastly reduced sense of safety.
While abuse is active, neglect is passive. It has to do with a breach of care on the part of the nursing home. Your loved one is entitled to food, water, medical care, and comfort while in the walls of a nursing home. Attentive care should be the hallmark of a long-term care facility, but for many residents that is not the case. For elderly residents in poor health, neglect can lead to further complications-it can even be fatal.
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