The number of elderly individuals in the U.S. is growing. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, it is expected that there will be 19 million people in the U.S. 85 years and older by the year 2050. However, with the rise in the number of elderly individuals in the U.S., also comes larger numbers of elderly individuals being abused and neglected. The American Psychological Association states that every year, approximately four million elderly people are the victims of some form of abuse or neglect.
A growing problem
Although the number of reported cases of elderly abuse and neglect are high, it is also estimated that for every one case that is reported, 23 go unacknowledged. Because of this, it is essential that friends and family members with a loved one in a nursing home be on the lookout for the common signs of abuse. These may include:
- Unexplained sores, burns or fractures.
- An elderly person lacking proper clothing or hygiene.
- A person with dementia or other health problems left unsupervised.
- Unexplained changes in the elderly person's behavior.
- An elderly individual not having access to necessary amenities within their home.
However, these are just a few examples of elder abuse. The signs of financial exploitation, physical abuse, neglect and emotional abuse can vary by situation.
The impact of neglect and abuse
Recently, four nursing homes in Connecticut were fined for giving improper care to their residents. According to the New Haven Register, these fines were the result of one resident falling and dying, another one being burned and several others that suffered from broken bones and sexual abuse.
The state Department of Public Health gave one specific Connecticut nursing home two fines totaling $2,250. According to the New Haven Register, the sexual abuse that occurred at this particular nursing home failed to report a sexual abuse case properly and the elderly individual that died was initially unresponsive after their fall and eventually died at the hospital.
Even in cases of elder abuse where the elderly individual does not die, the impacts of abuse are still severe. According to the NCEA, elderly individuals that experience even a mild form of abuse have a 300 percent greater chance of death than those that were never abused. In addition to this, those that are abused may experience health problems such as chronic pain, high blood pressure, depression and anxiety as a result of the abuse.
If you discover that one of your loved ones was abused in a nursing home, make sure that they receive necessary medical care and then contact an attorney that can help you recover your loved one's legal rights.