Who are the most common abusers of dependent adults?

Most victims of abuse are women, but some are men. The likely targets are older adults who have no family or friends nearby and people with disabilities, memory problems, or dementia. Elder Abuse and Nursing Home Statistics Elder abuse is a national problem that affects millions of people every year. Researchers and advocates collect data and compile statistics to help better understand this pervasive problem.

By studying these statistics, families can learn why abuse occurs, which groups of older people are most at risk of being abused, and how to keep loved ones safe. Anyone can commit elder abuse, from loved ones to caregivers and other residents in a nursing home. In addition, elder abuse takes many forms, including physical injury, financial exploitation, and even sexual assault. Concerned families should review the most important facts and statistics on elder abuse to gain an understanding of the overall problem and learn to protect their loved ones.

When the word “abuse” comes to mind, some may think of physical injury. However, older people can also suffer emotional, financial, and even sexual abuse. Below, learn important statistics for each type of abuse. Emotional abuse among older people can vary with each case.

Common types of emotional abuse include shouting or degrading the elderly. Isolating the elderly from family, loved ones, or friends can be a type of emotional abuse. Because this type of abuse may not leave physical marks, families should take note of their loved one's general mood if they suspect emotional harm has occurred. Common signs of emotional abuse include anxiety, irritability, and fear of specific residents or staff members if the older person lives in a nursing home.

Financial abuse occurs when someone steals or scams money from an elderly person. Financial abusers tend to be trusted caregivers, friends, or family members who seek to extort hard-earned life savings from elders. One of the best ways to prevent financial abuse is to have a responsible family member or lawyer manage or co-manage the accounts of an elderly person. All family members should be kept informed about this decision, as this can help keep the process transparent.

Abuse Can Leave Seniors With Prolonged Injuries or Permanent Disabilities. Physical abuse can also contribute to your death in some cases. Elders who have experienced physical abuse should be taken to a hospital for treatment and should not return to live with the caregiver or spouse who abused them. Physical abuse is unforgivable in every way.

If you or a loved one has experienced abuse or neglect, we can help. This type of abuse includes any forced sexual interaction that an older person has not consented to. In addition to potential physical injuries, sexual abuse can psychologically traumatize victims and their families and can even leave older people with sexually transmitted diseases in some cases. This horrible form of abuse affects men and women every year.

If family members suspect sexual abuse, they should calmly ask the older person to explain what happened (if possible), look for bruises or trauma, and report the incident promptly. There are some important distinctions between abuse and neglect in nursing homes. While abuse is the result of intentional harm, neglect occurs when a caregiver fails to meet the health care needs of an elderly person. Neglect is not the same as making a simple mistake.

It's a failure pattern that causes an elderly person to suffer long-term injuries. For example, elderly people who are neglected in nursing homes can sit in their bed for days at a time, leading to extremely dangerous and uncomfortable bedsores. Neglect can be as harmful or deadly as nursing home abuse. Family members should report negligence cases as soon as they arise to keep loved ones safe.

Nursing homes are designed to keep seniors safe when they can no longer care for themselves. That said, some residents experience nursing home abuse at the hands of staff members or other residents. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) estimates that up to 5 million older people experience abuse each year. That said, the exact numbers remain unclear, as elder abuse often goes unreported.

WHO estimates that only 1 in 24 cases of elder abuse are reported. Elder abuse goes unreported for several different reasons. When an older person is unable to report abuse or neglect, this responsibility lies with their immediate spouse or family. Always report any suspected abuse to local authorities to keep elders safe.

Family members more likely to commit elder abuse, says National Center on Elder Abuse. In addition to family members, in-home caregivers, nursing home staff members, and other nursing home residents can commit elder abuse. Unfortunately, addressing elder abuse remains a challenge, as the root causes vary on a case-by-case basis, and the full extent of the problem is still unknown. Families can keep loved ones safe by monitoring them regularly and reporting any signs of abuse to local authorities.

They can also use the Nursing Home Compare website to find high-quality homes near them and find out which centers have been cited for abuse. To learn more important facts about elder abuse, get a free case review today. Our team can connect you with important medical and legal resources to keep your loved one safe. By submitting, you agree to our privacy policy and terms of use.

The Nursing Home Abuse Center (NHAC) was founded to bring justice to people affected by abuse in nursing homes and nursing homes. Our mission is to educate and empower victims of abuse and their families to speak out against this illegal abuse. We work to restore dignity to those who have been destroyed by abuse and neglect in nursing homes. They can generally take steps to protect the older person from further abuse, including obtaining protection orders and initiating a guardianship to place the older person's property in the hands of a guardian (Capezuti et al.

As mentioned above, older people often refuse to cooperate with investigations initiated by reports of elder abuse or refuse to provide services (Dessin, 2000; Kleinschmidt, 1997; Gilbert, 1986; Shiferaw et al. Therefore, unlike child abuse, there may be no natural circle of people who can be encouraged or compelled to monitor and report elder abuse (Choi and Mayer, 2000; National Center on Elder Abuse, 199.These “helpers” may have easy access to the assets, documents, or financial information of older persons or being able to exert significant influence over the older person (National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, 2001; Nerenberg, 2000c; Quinn, 2000). Some may argue (though not without strong opposition) that physical abuse or neglect poses a more immediate threat to the well-being of older people and, therefore, need a more proactive model similar to that used for child abuse. Elder Advocates Argue Federal Agencies Must Help States Prosecute Elder Abuse (AARP, 200).

In addition, the mass adoption of a model of child abuse can contribute to the infantalization of the elderly and the perpetuation of ageism, since it is erroneously assumed that the elderly are like children and lack decision-making capacity (Capezuti et al. In addition, the underlying dynamics provided by Pillemer and Finkelhor (198) to explain the occurrence of the forms of elder abuse they studied (physical abuse, psychological abuse, and neglect) further suggests that a model of spousal abuse may not be appropriate to address financial abuse of elders. Companies that routinely provide services to older people can also help minimize the possibility of financial abuse of older people. Beauchamp (200) argues that legal interventions to remedy financial abuse of elders will inevitably be flawed and that no set of laws can be perfected.

Older people have been identified as vulnerable to undue influence when there is a close relationship in which the abuser is trusted and the older person suffers from cognitive impairments, is socially isolated, or is in a major life transition, such as widowhood (Quinn, 2000). It has also been observed that little is known about the close links that naturally develop between older people and their caregivers, particularly when services are provided to older people within their homes, and what leads to financial abuse (Quinn, 2000). Pillemer and Finkelhor (198) argue that changing from an underlying model of child abuse to a model of spousal abuse (would better inform service providers of situations in which elder abuse is likely to occur), (would help educate elders that abuse by a spouse is inappropriate and encourage non-acceptance, and (improve the form of services provided in response to elder abuse in line with those already provided to abused spouses, such as battered women's shelters and self-help groups). In addition, behaviors that began in the best interests of the older person may become abusive over time, such as when perpetrators initially provide helpful advice on financial investments, but gain greater control and ultimately misappropriate funds for themselves as they decrease the cognitive abilities of the elderly person (, 2000).

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Erika Shipley
Erika Shipley

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