According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and other organizations
dedicated to helping the elderly, around 10% of all Americans older than
60 years of age will be abused each year. The actual number could be much
higher than this amount – which is already well into the millions
– since it is feared that less than 10% of all elder abuse incidences
are ever reported to others. How is it that elder abuse is so rampant?
And why is there not more effort to stop it? The answer may lie in where
and how it occurs.
Elder Abuse in the Home
Nursing home abuse occurs when elder abuse is carried out, either intentionally or inadvertently,
by a nursing home or its staff members. This is usually the centerpiece
of focus for calls-to-action against elder abuse. While nursing home abuse
is a serious problem, it is believed that 60% of elder abuse incidents
are caused by a close family member that lives with or regularly visits
the elder. The abuse from a family member is less likely to go reported,
as the elder may be more likely to rationalize it, or feel too intimidated
to ask for help.
Different Forms of Elder Abuse
Physical violence is a devastating form of elder abuse but it is by no
means the only, or the most prominent. Elder abuse can be difficult to
spot and prevent since it can be carried out through a variety of methods,
many quite subtle. Incidents of elder abuse might be occurring unbeknownst
to even the abuser, who has not recognized his or her own neglectful behavior.
The many forms of elder abuse include:
Physical: Violent acts carried out against an elder.
Sexual: Coercing or forcing an elder to engage in any form of sexual or inappropriate activity.
Emotional: Using nonphysical means to attempt to harass, intimidate, or otherwise
lessen the wellbeing of an elder; sometimes called mental abuse due to
its roots in upsetting someone’s behaviors or self-esteem.
Neglect: Failing to provide an elder necessary care, food, shelter, and medicine,
especially when it is carried out by an official caregiver or orderly,
due to inattention; isolating an elder from social activities or communication
is another form of neglect which can be intentional.
Financial: Taking advantage of an elder’s resources for personal gain, or stealing
directly from an elder who cannot prevent it.
Denial: Intentionally taking away an elder’s necessities and against the
wishes of that elder.
How to Act Against Elder Abuse
If you suspect that your elder is being abused, either by a family member
or a nursing home attendant, you must act quickly to protect them from
further harm. If the danger is immediate, you may need the assistance
of the authorities to remove your elder from the situation safely.
Once your elder is out of harm’s way,
contact Albuquerque nursing home abuse attorney Michael J. Doyle. We can help
you learn your legal options, how to protect the rights of your elder,
and discover if you are owed compensation. Call
505.219.2176 to schedule a
free consultation today.