Child abuse is a topic that is part of the day-to-day conversation and news. Elder abuse is the opposite. Unreported mistreatment of senior citizens is a fact. Nursing homes, retirement communities, or at-home care veer away from making reports and the statistics reflect it.
Why are the elderly targeted?
In recent years, elder abuse reporting is more common but remains unreported.
- Underreporting permits caretakers to abuse or neglect a senior citizen.
- Research ignores the elderly who live in places other than in nursing homes.
- At-home care also is left out of most stats.
- Long-term housing, such as hospices and nursing homes, go unreported because the senior citizen suffers from a terminal or severe illness. The inability to advocate for themselves is the main reason why it continues to occur unnoticed.
- Isolating and threatening the older members of society is nearly considered a “norm.” The fear of retaliation is not that different from child abuse victims.
Numbers are one of those things that do not lie. But, it does not safeguard against the startling stats against incidents that go unreported.
- The average of people living in nursing homes with license averages 1.6 million.
- Close to a million senior citizens reside in 45, 000 residential homes.
- 2.5 million at-risk individuals living in nursing homes, assisted living, adult-care homes, and older adult hospices face neglect and abuse more than those living in registered nursing facilities.
- 1 in 10 of seniors sixty years old plus is subject to neglect and abuse. Reporting is the issue, with only 1-14 having made a report.
Nursing home abuse attorney Matthew Sharp gives expert advice, “If elder abuse or neglect is suspected, it’s essential to reach out to someone who can help.”
Flashing Warning Signs
- Physical abuse signs range from bruising, habitually broken bones, or odd cutting injuries.
- Emotional abuse is harder to track. However, the warning signs are depression, abrupt changes in energy levels, and unusual conflict causing behavior between caregiver and older adult.
- Financial abuse is one of the more obvious ones because of the paper trail a drained account creates.
- Blatant neglect is more evident because bed sores, the lack of cleanliness, and sudden weight loss are visible signs.
Most states have laws to protect the older members of society. However, not all states do.
Increasingly, the police and local prosecutors get training in elder abuse and the tell-tale signs. Using criminal and civil laws and mandates, people are facing what they have done and are paying the price.