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What to Know About Nursing Home Awareness Day

When an elderly loved one begins requiring around-the-clock care, family members often place them into nursing homes, expecting that they’ll receive care with the dignity and respect they deserve. Sadly, nursing home abuse is rampant in the United States and around the world. Distressed family members filed over 15,000 abuse and neglect cases in 2020 alone in the U.S., and it’s estimated that many thousands more abuse cases go unreported. Often, the most vulnerable elderly residents are not able to report their own abuse due to cognitive and speech issues, or out of fear of repercussions by staff members.

The United Nations General Assembly recognizes June 15th as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day to alert citizens of all nations to the widespread problem of elder abuse.

Nursing Home Awareness Day - June 15th

Common Types of Elder Abuse

Elderly residents in nursing homes and long-term care facilities face the greatest risk of elder abuse. Frequent staff turnover, poor training, and overworked caregivers result in frustrated employees and overwhelmed staff. Some neglect occurs simply due to a shortage of staff members in overwhelmed facilities, but other cases of abuse reveal staff aggression and violence with undetermined motives. Some abuse occurs between residents themselves in poorly supervised settings. Common types of elder abuse in nursing homes include:

  • Physical abuse in 29% of cases
  • Resident-on-resident abuse in 22% of cases
  • Psychological abuse in 21% of cases
  • Neglect in 14% of cases
  • Sexual abuse in 7% of cases
  • Financial exploitation in 7% of cases

Despite the fact that neglect and abuse of seniors is a widespread problem in nursing home facilities and elsewhere, elder abuse cases are the least investigated crimes.

Who is Most At-Risk of Elder Abuse

While all elderly people are vulnerable and at risk of abuse, studies show that abuse is more common among some groups including:

  • Women: females are more likely to become abuse victims than males. About 66% of abused seniors are women
  • Seniors with health problems: elderly patients with health problems are at higher risk of abuse. Not only do they require more care, meaning more stress for caregivers, but they may not be physically able to report their abuse
  • Seniors of lower socioeconomic status: elderly people of low socioeconomic status are more likely to be placed into lower-quality nursing home facilities with poor staff training, lower qualification standards, and higher instances of abuse and neglect
  • Victims of past trauma: studies show that seniors who’ve been victims of past trauma are more likely to experience nursing home abuse

It’s important to recognize signs of abuse in your elderly loved ones and report any instances of abuse or neglect to the authorities. A Phoenix nursing home abuse lawyer can help navigate your legal case.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Many elderly nursing home residents cannot report their own abuse or neglect for various physical, emotional, and cognitive reasons. It’s important to be aware of some common signs of abuse and neglect including:

  • Bruises, fractures, and other obvious injuries
  • Torn clothing
  • Broken or missing personal items such as dentures, glasses, and hearing aids
  • Poor hygiene
  • Weight loss
  • Signs of dehydration such as dry, cracked lips, dry skin, and lethargy
  • Bed sores
  • Withdrawal and other mood or personality changes
  • Bruises and/or bleeding from private parts

If you notice any of the above signs of abuse, notify the proper authorities within your jurisdiction. You can also find help through your local Adult Protective Services organization.

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