Abuse and neglect in long-term care facilities for the elderly is usually difficult to notice. Studies from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) indicate that as many as 1 in 10 elders experience some form of abuse each year, and figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that on average just 1 out of 24 cases of abuse are reported each year.
Some elders can also be at a greater risk of elder abuse based on a number of factors. These include mental capacity, age, gender, and whether the elder resides in a community setting. Multiple studies have corroborated that older adults with diminished psychosocial capacities, such as a diagnosis of a cognitive condition such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, increases the risk that the elder will be a victim of abuse, as these elders are likely unable to report the abuse or protect themselves. The WHO and the Department of Health and Human Services additionally report that elders that are isolated, as well as elderly women, are also at a greater risk of abuse.
Although not all injuries that occur in nursing homes and assisted living facilities amount to abuse or neglect, it is important to be on the lookout for red flags and warning signs to abuse to better protect your loved ones during their residency.