Nursing Home Abuse: Is it Common?

by Wormington & Bollinger

Nursing Home Abuse: Is it Common? - Wormington & BollingerSadly, nursing home abuse continues to be a problem right here in the United States. The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that more than two million Americans over the age of 65 have been neglected, mistreated, or abused by a caregiver. By these numbers, nearly one out of every 10 senior citizens will experience some form of abuse.

There is a serious misconception that nursing homes are safe places where our loved ones can go to live out their later years, all while receiving top-notch care. Unfortunately, we are starting to see just how much abuse goes on behind closed doors. If you talk to anyone who works in the assisted living or nursing home industry, they will likely tell you that elder abuse happens all the time, and most cases remain unreported.

This means that the ‘two million nursing home abuse cases a year’ number is probably a gross underestimate.

What does nursing home abuse look like in Texas?

In Texas alone, approximately 25 percent of the 1,200 assisted living facilities have fallen short. Many of these facilities have been cited for deficiencies and have been in the spotlight for shocking cases of alleged elder abuse. Perhaps more shockingly, 80 percent of all Texas long-term care facilities are guilty of at least one state or federal safety violations.

Nursing Home Abuse Statistics

To get a better idea of just how common nursing home abuse is, let’s look at a few more telling statistics from the Nursing Home Abuse Center:

  • One in 14 elder abuse cases is reported
  • One in 25 cases of financial elder abuse is reported
  • Only 20 percent of cases of elder neglect and abuse are reported
  • Nursing home abuse is on the rise – with just 450,000 incidents in 1996 compared to more than two million today
  • The most common form of elder abuse is physical abuse

Who is to blame?

Unfortunately, the most common people involved in elder abuse cases are family members. While we think that abuse could only happen by a stranger, this is not the case. Many of these individuals (partners, spouses, adult children, and other family members) are in-home caregivers who have committed to being responsible for the well-being of their elderly loved ones.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

It is clear that nursing home abuse is a serious problem, but what can we do about it? For one, it is important that we learn what the most common signs of nursing home abuse are:

  • Unexplained bruises, sprains, dislocations, or broken bones
  • Scars or welts on the body
  • Signs of restraint
  • Broken eyeglasses
  • Unusual behavior
  • Unsafe living conditions
  • Torn, bloody, or stained clothing
  • Bruising in the genital area
  • Sudden change in the elderly person’s financial situation

If you have noticed any of the above signs or are suspicious that your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse, please contact Wormington & Bollinger today.