Sadly, women are generally more likely to be affected by nursing home abuse than men. There are multiple reasons for the increased risk, and to protect yourself or your loved ones, you should understand the signs and be proactive in cases where you believe abuse is occurring.
1. The Majority of Elders Are Women
A primary reason more women are likely to face nursing home abuse than men is simply because there are more women than men in long term care facilities. There are only 89 men for every 100 women between the ages of 65 and 69, and the difference grows as people get older. For people over the age of 90, there are only 38 men for every 100 women. Overall, there are approximately 3.6 million more women over the age of 65 than men.
2. Women Often Have More Risk Factors Than Men
There are certain risk factors that are strongly linked to nursing home abuse, and women are more likely to have these risk factors than men. Women live longer, and age typically correlates with an increased risk of elder abuse. Additionally, many elder women are widows, and social or familial isolation can also cause someone to be more prone to abuse.
A prior history of abuse has also been linked to an increased risk of nursing home abuse, and throughout their lives, women have statistically faced more abuse than men. For example, 90% of sexual assault victims are women.
3. Many Women Face Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes
Women often deal with physical, emotional, and financial abuse in nursing homes, but they may also face sexual abuse and rape in care facilities. There are limited statistics on the number of women who experience sexual abuse in nursing homes, but federal data shows 16,000 complaints from 2000 to 2017. That’s approximately 1,000 cases per year, but many cases go unreported so the actual numbers may be even higher.
4. Women with Disabilities Often Deal with Higher Rates of Abuse
When a woman has a disability, she may face an even greater risk of nursing home abuse. In one study of institutionalized adult women, 21% reported nursing home abuse in the form of interpersonal violence, but one third of women with disabilities reported issues. That is an increase of over 50%.
5. Many Nursing Homes Have Multiple Citations Against Them
The federal government has cited over 1,000 nursing homes around the country for sexual abuse. When you take into account that there are only 15,600 nursing homes in the country and that many cases of sexual abuse are never reported, those numbers are shocking. Additionally, 100 of these nursing homes had multiple citations related to rape or sexual assault.
6. There Are Many Signs of Nursing Home Abuse in Women
Generally, if a woman is facing nursing home abuse, there are often visible signs. Victims of physical abuse may go to the emergency room more often, and they tend to have unexplained bruises and fractures. In cases of sexual abuse, women may have urinary tract infections, pelvic pain, or bruises on their upper thighs.
These women may be reluctant to let anyone see their injuries because they often fear that their abuser may retaliate if anyone finds out about the abuse. They may start showing changes in emotions or behavior, and they may begin to recoil when friends or loved ones try to touch them.
7. Financial Abuse is a Factor for Women Too
Women often face financial abuse as well, especially in cases where a woman may be suffering from medical conditions that result in deteriorating memory or a decreased ability to communicate. The signs of financial abuse can be easy to spot if you know what to look for. For example, an elderly woman who is facing financial exploitation may not have enough money to pay her expenses. She may suddenly change her will, give possessions to others, or make unusual purchases with her credit card.
If your loved one is female and currently lives in a nursing home, it’s even more important that you are aware of the signs of nursing home abuse. If you suspect that abuse is happening, get help as soon as possible. Contact Mazow | McCullough, PC to learn about your rights and determine if you should bring forward a lawsuit.