According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, “Experts have reported that knowledge about elder abuse lags as much as two decades behind the fields of child abuse and domestic violence,” and we couldn’t agree more. Since elder abuse, also known as nursing home abuse, is underreported, we don’t know for sure how many people are being abused at the hands of their caregivers in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
According to the NCEA’s data:
- The elderly can be reluctant to report abuse because of cognitive impairment and because of fear of retaliation, or because they’re afraid of getting the abuser in trouble.
- The New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study discovered that for every case of abuse that is reported, 24 go unreported.
- Poor health and “functional impairment” increase the risk of abuse.
- Women are victims more often than men.
- In 2010, a study found that 47% of participants with dementia experienced mistreatment from their caregivers.
- A study conducted in 2009 found that nearly 50% of dementia patients had been abused to some degree by caregivers.
- Resident-on-resident abuse in long-term care facilities is “recognized as a problem that is more common than physical abuse by staff,” reports the NCEA.
Do You Suspect Your Loved One is Being Abused?
Nursing home abuse comes in many forms. It can be physical, psychological, sexual, or it can involve financial exploitation or neglect. If you suspect that your loved one is being neglected, physically or emotionally abused, it’s time to seek help. Some of the common signs of nursing home neglect or abuse include, but are not limited to:
- Restraint marks
- Unexplained bruising
- Sudden weight loss
- Steep decline in health
- Changes in mood and behavior
- Your loved one is fearful of caregivers
- The resident’s room is unclean or has foul odors
- Your loved one complains of neglect or abuse
- Caregivers won’t let your loved one have private visitors or take private phone calls
Nursing home abuse is not something to be ignored. If left uncorrected, it can lead to depression, very poor health, and in the worst cases, premature death. If you suspect your loved one is being neglected or abused by the staff at a nursing home or long-term care facility, we urge you to contact our firm to meet with a Smyrna nursing home abuse attorney.