Why Nursing Home Abuse Incidents Often Go Unreported

by Wormington & Bollinger

Why-Nursing-Home-Abuse-Incidents-Often-Go-Unreported-Wormington-Bollingr-MckinneyIt is believed that elder abuse is extremely unreported, making it difficult for us to determine exactly how many seniors are taken advantage of each year. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, only an estimated one in every 14 cases of elder abuse is reported. Other organizations numbers are as high as one out of every 23 cases. There are numerous reasons for this, several of which we will discuss below. As our loved ones get older, it becomes increasingly difficult to provide them with the care they need. This is where nursing homes and assisted living facilities come in. Whether our elderly family member is in need of physical, emotional, or mental assistance, long-term care facilities are often the answer. Unfortunately, the people that work in these facilities don’t always have the best intentions.

When elderly individuals become dependent on caregivers or family members, it makes them vulnerable and at risk of abuse. The National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse estimates that 5 to 10 percent of all elderly Americans are suffering from abuse. Our elderly population is growing at a dramatic rate, as the large Baby Boomer generation begins to not only enter retirement but reach an age where they need assistance. The Census Bureau projects the elderly population will more than double between now and 2050, to 80 million. This means that, by 2050, as many as 1 in 5 Americans could be elderly. With our elderly population growing at such a fast rate, the question of why abuse incidents go unreported is once again brought up. As Dallas nursing home abuse attorneys, we have seen our fair share of nursing home abuse cases. We are dedicated to protecting the elderly and raising awareness about the dangers of elder abuse. If your loved one has been taken advantage of by a caregiver, please give Wormington & Bollinger a call today.

 Elder Abuse Cases Unreported For Numerous Reasons

There are many reasons why elder abuse cases go unreported, here in Dallas and elsewhere in the U.S.:

  • No one to report abuse to – Sadly, many elders who are abused, neglected, or otherwise taken advantage of don’t have family members or loved ones to talk to about the abuse. If the abuse is occurring in the hand of a caretaker or someone else at the nursing home, they may not know who to turn to.
  • Fear – One of the main reasons why elders don’t report abuse is fear of retaliation. They may also feel ashamed or like it is their fault, which can lead them to shut-down and keep what is going on to themselves.
  • Embarrassed – Similar to the above point, experts believe elderly abuse goes unreported because elders are ashamed and embarrassed about the abuse being directed at them. They may not have anyone they trust enough to talk about the situation with, which is completely disheartening.
  • Fear of loss of independence – This is more geared at elders who still live alone and have a caregiver who comes into their home. When this person is abusing or taking advantage of them, the elder may not want to report it for fear of losing their independence and being placed in an assisted living facility.
  • They don’t want to upset loved ones – We have also learned that elderly abuse goes unreported because elders do not want to upset their family members or cause any problems.

If you suspect your elderly loved one is being abused or neglected, please contact the Dallas nursing home abuse lawyers at Wormington & Bollinger today.