Elder abuse is always unacceptable. There are no circumstances in which it is okay to abuse an elderly person.
While nursing homes in the United States are often understaffed and the staff is underpaid, these are not excuses to abuse or neglect residents.
Here are five shocking nursing home abuse statistics you should know:
#1 – One in ten U.S. nursing home residents experience abuse each year.
When you consider what it costs to place a loved one in a nursing home, it is outrageous that so many older Americans suffer abuse in the place they must call home.
#2 – The most prevalent type of nursing home abuse is psychological.
The worst part about psychological abuse is that many people don’t know how to identify it. Psychological abuse can be subtle and you may not be able to realize it is happening until it is too late.
#3 – For every one incident of abuse that is reported to the authorities, another 24 additional cases linger undiscovered.
Abuse in nursing homes is often underreported for some of the same reasons other types of abuse aren’t reported. Nursing home residents are fearful of retaliation, which is fairly common. Sometimes, the most vulnerable residents are preyed upon because they are physically incapable of reporting abuse.
Ultimately, if you have noticed a change in your loved one’s behavior, start asking them questions and pay close attention to their answers. Even those who cannot speak may still be able to communicate that they are enduring abuse.
#4 – Women are more likely to endure abuse than men.
The majority (66%) of elder abuse victims are women. This is congruent with domestic abuse statistics in which women are significantly more likely than men to endure repeated victimization and are much more likely to sustain severe injuries.
#5 – About 36% of nursing home residents were witnesses to at least one incident of physical abuse in the past year.
What is most frustrating about this is the elders who witness abuse often do not feel confident enough to report what they saw.
If you suspect your loved one is being abused in a nursing facility, it is critical that you reach out for help right away.