According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), “Experts have reported that knowledge about elder abuse lags as much as two decades behind the fields of child abuse and domestic violence.” The NCEA contends that we have an urgent need for more research, and we couldn’t agree more.
Elder abuse or nursing home abuse refers to neglect, as well as physical, emotional, sexual, psychological, and financial abuse of vulnerable elderly adults. One groundbreaking study based out of New York found that 260,000 (1 out of 13) elderly adults in New York were victims of elder abuse at least once in the previous 12 months, the NCEA reports.
“Elder abuse is also underreported,” says the NCEA. The New York Elder Abuse Prevalence Study found that: “for every case known to programs and agencies, 24 were unknown,” the NCEA reported.
What Are the Risk Factors for Nursing Home Abuse?
Before we get into the “causes” of elder abuse, let’s take a look at the risk factors, as reported by the NCEA. Studies found that these factors increase someone’s risk of being a victim of nursing home abuse:
- A low amount of social support.
- Dementia is a significant risk factor.
- Previous experience being a victim of domestic violence.
- Poor physical health.
- Functional impairment.
- Low income and poverty are associated with elder abuse.
- No spouse or partner increases risk of financial exploitation.
Who are the perpetrators? Aside from adult children and spouses, they include individuals who work in nursing home facilities. Perpetrators in the nursing home setting are:
- More likely to be male, though women abuse as well
- Have a history of having problems with law enforcement
- Have a past or current substance abuse problem
- Under a lot of stress
- Have major financial problems
- Often socially isolated
- Working in an understaffed facility
- Undertrained and underpaid
Often, nursing home abuse is closely connected to hiring practices. Unfortunately, many homes fail to hire the best quality people. When a facility is constantly short-staffed and regularly hires unscrupulous individuals, not only is it a recipe for disaster, it’s an irresponsible, but all too common practice.
Looking for a West Palm Beach nursing home abuse attorney? Contact us 24/7 to speak with a lawyer you can trust!