We all want what's best for our aging parents and loved ones. When it seems it's no longer tenable for them to live on their own, sometimes we must make the choice to move them into an assisted-living facility.
A good nursing can bring joy and help our loved ones flourish in their twilight years. But a poorly run or even abusive nursing home can be extremely detrimental. Before choosing a nursing home for your loved one, it's important to know elder abuse facts.
“Elder abuse is a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person,” according to the World Health Organization. It can include physical, emotional, sexual, psychological or financial abuse, and also includes neglect and abandonment.
Elder abuse often goes underreported because many victims have difficulty communicating the abuse, either because of a physical disability or out of fear. But here are some statistics we do know:
- 10 percent of Americans aged 60 and older have experienced some sort of abuse
- Elder abuse is only reported one in 14 times, according to estimates
- About 60 percent of elder abuse is neglect
- 9 percent of elder abuse is verbal mistreatment, 3.5 percent is financial mistreatment and less than 1 percent is physical mistreatment
While many nursing homes provide excellent and attentive care for your loved ones, nursing home abuse and neglect is still a very serious problem.
- Half of all nursing home staff admitted to engaging in physical abuse, mental abuse or neglect of patients
- 22 percent of complaints filed against nursing homes were for resident-on-resident physical or sexual abuse
- Nearly a third of nursing homes have been cited for violating federal standards
Preventing nursing home abuse
When visiting your loved ones in a nursing home, be on the lookout for signs of abuse. This includes inattentive staff, unanswered call lights, high staff turnover or staff being evasive when you ask questions. Any unexplained fractures, bruises or cuts on your loved one could be signs of elder abuse. So is unexplained depression and anxiety. Keep a close eye on your loved one’s finances and note any discrepancies.
If you or a loved one has faced elder abuse in a nursing home, it’s important to report it to the authorities – it’s likely not an isolated incident.