Every year, nursing home abuse leaves seniors financially ruined, physically harmed, emotionally scarred, or worse. The people that are normally responsible are often the staff, other residents and even family members. Staff members or family members are the ones that should be keeping these residents happy and healthy. Most types of elder abuse are committed by trusted individuals, but elders can mistreat themselves through self-neglect.
According to statistics, about 5,000,000 elders are abused every year. It is thought that 1 out of 10 elders over the age of 60 are being abused. The U.S. Justice Department notes that caregiver neglect is the most unreported type of abuse, with 1 out of every 57 cases being reported. A 2011 study found that 21% of nursing home residents were neglected at least once over a 12-month period.
According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, the breakdown of elder abuse complaints are as follows 27.4% of physical abuse, 22.1 resident to resident abuse, 19.4 Psychological abuse, 15.3% of Gross neglect, 7.9% of Sexual abuse and 7.9% of Financial exploitation. According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), elders are more likely to self-report financial exploitation than emotional, physical, and sexual abuse or neglect. According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), roughly 60% of abused seniors suffer at the hands of a family member.
Common causes of elder abuse in nursing homes include, lack of staff training, nursing home mismanagement, poor staff pay and Understaffing. The most common cause could be, being under excessive stress due to chronic fatigue, having an overwhelming amount of daily responsibilities, suffering from illicit drug abuse, including the excessive use of alcohol. One of the most common forms of elder abuse encountered by geriatric care managers is self-neglect. Physical or mental impairment or diminished capacity can mean that an older adult is no longer able to perform essential self care.
There are about 7 types of elder abuse. Elder abuse goes beyond physical and emotional abuse. According to the NCEA (national council for elder abuse), neglect is the most common type of elder abuse. There is also sexual, abandonment, financial and self-neglect. There are multiple signs to look for with elder abuse. For physical abuse, bruises, burns and broken bones are only a few. For sexual abuse, look for bleeding, pain or bruises from the genitals or the inner thigh. An emotionally abused patient will exhibit withdrawal, low self-esteem, appearing disturbed and scared.
Elder neglect is when a caregiver fails to protect from harm. Signs include failure to provide medical care, basic daily living, and failure to provide food and drinks. Abandonment is leaving a person that is unable to care for themselves. Signs to look for with abandonment are poor self- hygiene and looking lost. Financial abuse normally occurs with people that the older person trusts. Most elders can’t take care of themselves so they forget to do the simple things that they used to do so they leave thing undone.
Elder abuse cannot be prevented. It can be reduced if the caretakers are more vigilant in their care of these elders. Family members should visit frequently and encourage their loved ones to participate in activities.