According to the US Census Bureau, there are approximately 47.8 million people over the age of 65 living in the United States. This group represents close to 15% of the population, and as more and more baby boomers reach retirement age, this number is only going to grow. Unfortunately, however, society is not caring for and protecting this vulnerable part of the population—elder abuse statistics are shocking and deeply saddening.
Based on the most recent elder abuse statistics from the National Council on Aging, approximately one in ten seniors have experienced some form of elder abuse. Most officials believe that elder abuse statistics only tell part of the story. The vast majority of abuse never gets reported.
Estimates vary on how much abuse takes place, but the New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study found that for every report of abuse, there were 24 unreported cases.
Nursing homes should be caring facilities that help aging people through their final years, but tragically, a significant portion of nursing homes are linked to some type of nursing home abuse. A report presented to Congress in 2001 revealed that between 1999 and 2001, 5,283 nursing homes in the United States were cited for harm or neglect. That’s one-third of the country’s nursing homes. In fact, 1,600 of those nursing homes were cited for elder abuse that was linked to serious injury or death.
Different studies and surveys put forward a variety of different elder abuse statistics, but none of them paint a positive picture of the situation. In a survey from the The Atlanta Long Term Care (LTC) Ombudsman Program, 44% of nursing home residents reported abuse, and 48% reported that they had been treated roughly.
States are supposed to monitor the condition of nursing homes, but according to the US Government Accountability Office, 70% of federal comparative surveys find mistakes and deficiencies in state surveys. In 45 states, 40% or more state surveys overlooked issues, and these surveys aren’t just overlooking the small issues. Approximately 15% of federal comparative surveys found that state surveys failed to report issues of serious harm to nursing home residents.
Elder abuse affects a range of people, but there are certain risk factors that can make someone more susceptible to abuse. Female nursing home residents are more likely to be affected by nursing home abuse than their male counterparts. Abuse is also much higher among disabled patients, especially those with dementia. Additionally, elders in poverty, with low levels of social support, and previous histories of abuse are at a higher risk of facing abuse.
In addition to physical responses such as bruises, broken bones, and constant pain, seniors face a lot of other reactions to elder abuse. Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates a direct link between nursing home abuse and increased mortality risk. On top of that, many elders suffer from emotional distress and depression, and based on the True Link Report on Elder Financial Abuse, financial abuse costs elders $36.48 billion per year.
Elder abuse statistics are shocking, but the fact that this situation is common does not make it okay. If you or a loved one has been affected by nursing home abuse, we can help. Contact Mazow | McCullough, PC today at (855) 693-9084.