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Why There's a Rise in Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect


A recent study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) found that one in six elder people experience some form of abuse, a number that's higher than previous estimates. This figure is also expected to rise as more populations age.

Higher Percentage of Abuse and Neglect

According to the WHO study, 16% of older individuals over the age of 60 experience various types of abuse and neglect. Among them, 11.6% experience psychological abuse, 6.8% suffer from financial abuse, 4.2% experience neglect, 2.6% endure physical abuse, and 0.9% suffer from sexual abuse. The study included multiple studies from 28 countries, including 12 countries that fall under low- and middle-income brackets.

This abuse also accounts for abuse and neglect occurring in nursing homes across the globe.

How Elder Abuse Affects Health

Elder abuse awareness has increased throughout the world. Elder abuse is defined as any action or lack of action that results in harm or distress to older people. All types of elder abuse can have a negative impact on the health and overall well-being of the abused individuals. In cases of nursing home abuse and neglect, a nursing home abuse attorney can help those individuals and their loved ones receive appropriate compensation for this mistreatment.

As shown in the figures, psychological abuse is the most prevalent form of elder abuse. Psychological abuse includes behaviors that cause harm to the individual's well-being or self-worth. Abusive behaviors entail scaring, name calling, embarrassing, preventing individuals from interacting with friends and family or destroying personal property.

In many instances, financial abuse is another issue, as the second most common form of abuse. Financial abuse involves the illegal misuse of an older person's property, assets, or money.

While abuse includes actions that result in an individual's harm, neglect involves the overall lack of action that culminates in harm. The failure to meet an individual's basic needs such as housing, clothing, food, and medical care are all forms of neglect that often take place in nursing homes and other facilities.

Abuse and neglect can take its toll on elder persons quickly, potentially resulting in traumatic pain and injury, depression, or anxiety. In extreme cases, abuse can also lead to hospitalization or even death.

Lack of Investigation and the Predicted Rise in Abuse

Despite the number of instances of elder abuse and neglect and the serious health issues that follow, elder abuse continues to be one of the least investigated types of violence. There is also a lack of plans in place to deal with this abuse.

The WHO study predicts that by 2050 the number of people at the age of 60 and over will double, reaching 2 billion worldwide. A majority of these individuals will be in low- and middle-income countries. Among this population, approximately 320 million of elder people will become victims of abuse.

Improved policies could help put an end to elder abuse and neglect, but unfortunately, these issues are often overlooked by policymakers. While lower-income regions such as Southeast Asia, Africa, and Africa may experience a majority of elder abuse, first-world countries like the United States will also be affected, benefitting from better plans to prevent abuse and neglect.

How Nursing Home Staff Contribute to The Numbers

Many families put their trust in nursing home staff to provide adequate care for their loved ones, but unfortunately, many of these workers are behind the growing number of abuse and neglect toward the elderly. In many cases, nursing home residents don't receive the care they need or suffer from abuse, without the ability to communicate their suffering to friends or family. Staff can also leave residents too frightened to speak out, resulting in silence as abuse and neglect causes health issues and psychological trauma.

Loved ones should keep an eye on elder individuals throughout their residency, looking out for signs of abuse and neglect. Signs can include poor personal hygiene that indicates neglect, unsanitary living conditions, physical issues from lack of nutrition, loss of mobility, unexplained injuries such as bruises or scratches, and psychological issues that might involve growing distant from friends and family or exhibited signs of depression. Overall changes in behavior could also indicate cases of financial abuse, such as when a resident makes sudden unexpected changes to wills or trusts to favor a certain party. Residents may also be reluctant to discuss their experience in the nursing home facility and may become socially withdrawn as a result of psychological trauma.

With the help of a nursing home abuse attorney, loved ones can receive compensation for nursing home abuse and neglect, while subsequently helping prevent further cases. While nursing home abuse and neglect only account for a section of the overall abuse that takes place worldwide, putting an end to it can help reduce the number of future instances.

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