Who is More Vulnerable to Elder Abuse and Neglect?

Nursing Home- Female PatientClark County, NV- The elderly population in the U.S. is growing and is expected to double over the next decade. This means that the population of nursing homes will also increase significantly, putting more residents at risk of being abused or neglected in the various long-term facilities across the state and the country as a whole.

By far, financial exploitation is the most common form of elder abuse. The elderly are often preyed upon by unethical telemarketers and businesses. They are conned out of retirement funds by family members and some residents of nursing home have their trust accounts plundered by their caregivers under the guise of helping them out. This form of abuse, while emotionally damaging, is not nearly as pernicious as the physical abuse and neglect many nursing home residents face.

Which seniors are more vulnerable to abuse of neglect?

According to the NCEA, there is no set profile of elders who are more likely to be abused or neglected. The majority of elder abuse is perpetrated by family members in a private setting, and the incidents are often caused by ongoing physiological and emotional problems of the perpetrator and the victim. But there are some elders who are more vulnerable to abuse in a long-term care facility because of their cognitive disorders, isolation and under-staffing.

Residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia

According to the Alzheimer’s Society of America there are 5.3 million people currently suffering from dementia in the U.S. and that figure is expected to rise to 7.7 million by 2030. Elderly individuals, who suffer from this condition, are often unable to take care of their daily needs and rely heavily on others for a range of care.

Long-term facility residents, who have suffer from cognitive disorders, are far more vulnerable to abuse in neglect since they are less likely to understand what is happening to them. Or, they are unable to speak about the abuse they have suffered. Many times their allegations are not taken seriously by nursing home staff which creates an environment where they can be easily abused or neglect, and the responsible party has little fear that they will be discovered.

Residents with few visitors

There is no definitive profile of those who are prone to abuse a nursing home resident, but it is clear that abuse and neglect are acts of opportunity. When an individual is placed in facility where family members are unable to visit regularly—one to two times a week—they are more likely to be a victim of abuse. Abusers don’t have to worry they will be caught in the act since their intended victim has seldom visits from friends of family.

Residents at understaffed facilities

Elders living in facilities plagued with staffing issues are more likely to be neglected. Stress, exhaustion and frustration can push and otherwise good person into harming a vulnerable adult. Overworked facility staff does not always intentionally neglect the needs of a patient, but many are unable to provide the daily care a patient needs. Even when neglect is unintentional, a resident can suffer from serious conditions such as untreated bed sores which can lead to illness or death. A Philadelphia wrongful death lawyer can help you get the answers and justice you and your family deserve.

There are things people can do to prevent abuse and neglect such as placing hidden cameras in their loved one’s room and make frequent visits. But no all abuse can be prevented, and after filing a formal complaint with the facility and long-term care ombudsman in their state, the abuse victim should contact an Illinois nursing home abuse attorney to determine if they are eligible for compensation.