The elderly population in America is rising at an accelerated pace. In fact, it’s been estimated by the United States Census Bureau that the number of people over the age of 65 will reach 20 percent of the population within the next few decades. It’s also worth noting that one of the fastest growing populations in the country are people 85 years old and above. Some believe this has to do with advances in medicine that enable people to live longer lives.
An unfortunate reality concerning senior citizens is the fact that elder abuse has increased as the population has aged. By definition, elder abuse is the intentional neglect and mistreatment of an elderly person that puts them at risk. Elder abuse tends to occur at the hands of people closest to the person being mistreated, such as a family member or caregiver where a trusting relationship should exist. In addition to family members and caregivers, doctors and home healthcare personnel are often included in the list of persons that engage in elder abuse with a level of frequency.
One of the challenges that exist today is the inability to find trained and skilled professionals to provide care to the elderly population. In some instances, the reason elder abuse occurs is because those providing care are not equipped to do so effectively. This often increases the chances of abuse. It was reported in the National Elder Abuse Incident Study and by the National Center on Elder Abuse that women are more likely to be abused than men, which is particularly concerning.
According to the United States Census Bureau, there are about 19 million people in the country that have a disability, whether mental or physical. In addition to the vulnerabilities that accompany being elderly, having a mental or physical disability makes the person even more vulnerable to abuse. The population of people with disabilities are sometimes abused by daycare workers, medical providers, doctors, family members, nurses and others that are charged with providing medical care or support. This is often the case whether the disabled person is institutionalized or not. It’s also worth noting that abuse of the disabled happens at all ages and not just against the elderly population.
There are over 6 million people in the United States older than 65 that suffer from some form of dementia. The elderly population that suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are at a great risk of abuse. There is a large population of these individuals that are over the age of 85. In fact, it’s estimated that approximately 50 percent of the elderly population with dementia is older than 85. They are most likely to be abused by a caregiver.
In the United States, there are several million people living in nursing homes according to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is associated with the United States Department of Health and Human Services and produces the Nursing Home Data Compendium. As revealed by their findings, elder abuse takes place at many locations, such as private homes, medical facilities and nursing homes.
One of the most troubling facts about elder abuse is that it can be difficult to recognize because there aren’t always physical signs. Subsequently, the abuse often goes unreported and therefore continues for a longer period of time. It’s believed that elder abuse is not reported in some instances because those hired to provide care are not trained to recognize the signs of abuse. Another reason why it’s often allowed to continue is because the elderly person is often reluctant to report the abuse, especially if it’s at the hands of a family member.
In some instances, the person that’s being abused doesn’t fully understand the seriousness of the mistreatment they’re experiencing. In these instances, they don’t report the problem to family member that visit them in a long-term care facility or nursing home. The distressing reality is that often loved ones are abused but the family members are unaware of the signs associated with that abuse. It’s imperative that family and friends that visit an elderly relative get an understanding of abuse, including the signs and symptoms they should look for during visits.
If you believe an elderly friend or family member is being abused, contact Zayed Law Offices to learn about the steps you can take to address the matter. They are experts at resolving these types of cases and have a commitment to meeting the needs of their clients. Whether someone you know has suffered nursing home abuse or you suspect that a problem exists, Zayed Law Offices can guide you through the process. They have worked with many clients over the years to secure the compensation they deserve.