Nursing Home Abuse
The population of elderly Americans has been growing rapidly as the Baby Boomer generation reaches retirement age; indeed, the population of Americans in the 65 and older age bracket is expected to surpass 75 million by around 2031. With this growth in the demographic, the population of American nursing facilities has grown as well, bringing with it an increasing number of elderly citizens who have suffered some form of abuse while living in these facilities.
The United States has about 15,700 nursing homes with a total combined population of over 1.3 million residents, and this number is growing rapidly. Of that population, an estimated 10 percent, 130,000 people, have reported some form of nursing home abuse within the last year. This number, in fact, is probably significantly lower than the actual number of occurrences, since many senior adults in nursing facilities are unwilling or unable to report their abuse. To be sure, in a government study conducted in 2010 over half of the nursing home staff that were surveyed admitted to abusing a resident in some manner within the previous calendar year. And, as with the survey of residents, there is in all likelihood a significant reporting bias to these statistics; offering anonymity will only go so far towards getting people to admit to illegal acts. Nursing home abuse is a common occurrence, and may affect you or somebody that you know at some point during your lifetime.
Types Of Elder Abuse
Abuse of the elderly can take a variety of different forms, but the most common ones are physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. While these typically leave obvious signs, passive neglect and financial exploitation are other common problems facing America’s elderly, and ones that are much more difficult for friends and family members to identify.
It is important for people with a loved one in an extended care facility to stay vigilant for signs of potential abuse or neglect. In many cases confusion or shame will keep a senior from reporting cases of nursing home abuse; it can be hard for a person who is used to being the strong, self-sufficient one to admit that they need help. And it can be even more important when a relative has Alzheimer’s disease or other form of dementia: these issues affect nearly half of the people over the age of 85, and around 47 percent of patients will be mistreated in some way by their caregivers.
Warning Signs Of Elder Abuse
Signs of elder abuse will vary depending on the type of abuse, but typically will involve sudden changes in behavior or a person’s conditions, both physical, behavioral, or financial. Overt physical symptoms are things like bruises, broken bones, abrasions, bedsores, poor hygiene, and unusual weight loss, particularly if there is no explanation or an unsatisfactory explanation for how they occurred. Additionally, psychological factors like rapidly occurring changes in alertness or mood, withdrawal from normal activities, or unusual depression should raise concern. Even if they are not from an elder abuse situation they can also indicate the early stages of a number of medical issues. Finally, any changes in a person’s financial situation should be a red flag to loved ones as well.
Speak With An Attorney
If you or a loved one has suffered from elder abuse or neglect, you may be eligible to recover compensation for your injuries. We encourage you to contact the compassionate legal team at the office of Alan Goldfarb, P.A. in Miami, by telephone at 305-371-3111 or online today to learn how we can get you the compensation you deserve.