Soaring Numbers of Elderly Abuse
Researchers have discovered that elderly abuse is on the rise. Last year alone, state adult protective services (APS) intervened in more than 142,000 cases to protect seniors from neglect. APS also investigated nearly 300,000 cases of abuse.
About Nursing Home Abuse
Each year in the United States, an estimated 2.1 million seniors are the victims of some form of abuse. Many elderly do not report the abuse or neglect. In fact, 1 in 6 doesn’t report. Unfortunately, abused elders die earlier than their well cared for counterparts. According to the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA), the maltreatment and abuse of the elderly is a significant problem among the elderly population in America. It is more common in women over age 80. Also, those who are abused are at a 300 percent increase of dying within three years.
Elder abuse is either physical, sexual or emotional. The most common being neglect. This is not providing for an elderly person with clothing, shelter, food, medication or other basic needs. Also, as people live longer, this problem continues to grow.
Elderly Abuse Statistics
The APS published the report on elderly abuse showing more than 720,000 investigations in one year. However, this data is not complete and could be misleading. Not only are there hundreds of thousands of cases not reported to the agency, but also each state has a different standard for determining abuse or neglect. There is no federal mandate to collect data on abuse. In the 1970s, the government began charting guidelines and parameters for addressing child abuse. However, that was never done for elderly abuse.
Recently, there has been hope to correct that, but there are serious gaps in the data. For example, the new totals do not include reports from six states (New Mexico, Oregon, Nevada, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin). The absence of these states has a variety of reasons. For example, West Virginia does not collect statewide data. This leaves each county to collect the statistics. Whereas, Oregon simply sent in data late and could not be included in this year’s report.
Nationwide Elderly Abuse Increase
Even with gaps and missing data, abuse and neglect cases are increasing nationwide.
- Washington state had about 19,000 elder abuse reports in 2012 and 49,000 reports in 2017.
- Massachusetts confirmed 7,100 abuse and neglect cases in 2015 and 9,800 in 2017.
- Ohio reported about 16,200 reports of abuse, neglect and exploitation of seniors in 2017, This is up from about 13,150 in 2014.
- Pennsylvania officials investigated 13,000 abuse reports in fiscal year 2014 and nearly 18,000 in fiscal year 2016.
The increase could be better reporting systems. However, as Americans live longer there are more elderly across the country. This leaves facilities desperate to hire employees to staff the nursing home. This ends up being a recipe for abuse.
If you suspect abuse or neglect, do not accept denials. Instead, contact a knowledgeable lawyer experienced with representing victims. When an abuser injures a resident at a care facility, it is not always obvious what happened and legal liability. The evidence available is often incomplete and may be self-serving for the defendant – the nursing home. This is why a free consultation with us is so important. We have been assisting the injured for 20 years. We help clients from all over the country. Our consultations are completely free. Call today.