Elder Abuse includes the negligent or intentional actions that cause harm or create a serous risk of harm to a vulnerable elder by a caregiver or other person who stands in a trust relationship to the elder. It is estimated that there is some form of patient abuse occurring at roughly 30% of all care-giving facilities. Moreover, an estimated 50% of these facilities are understaffed and unable to give proper care to their residents. Sadly, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse in the United States, only a mere 20% of all instances of abuse get reported. Therefore, most instances of abuse haven’t been included in these statistics and the actual numbers are probably much higher.
There are many reasons for why elder abuse goes unreported. For example, the staff may have lacked sufficient training for detecting abuse. The elderly may be reluctant to report the abuse out of fear of retaliation, lack of physical or mental ability to report, or they do not want to get the abuser in trouble for one reason or another. In addition, abuse does not always occur as a result of a caregiver. Other residents living in the facility can also be the cause of such abuse.
Elderly Abuse Becoming More Prevalent
In 2010, an all-time high 13% of the United States population was age 65 or older. This “boomer generation” effect is expected to continue for decades. By the year 2050, an estimated 20% of the United States population will be comprised of people aged 65 years or older. As the number of elderly continues to increase, the need for an assisted living facility or nursing home has become more practical.
Abuse can take a number of different forms, some of the most common include:
- Neglect that Leads to Bedsores, Ulcers, or Malnutrition;
- Physical Abuse;
- and Financial Abuse;
Unfortunately, instances of elder abuse will continue to rise over time and it is vital that we put a stop to abuse of our older citizens.