With millions of senior citizens in our country, and the fast growing elder population due to the baby boomer generation, the elder care industry is expanding. Our elder population is expected to be around 100 million people in the next 40 years or so, according to the Population Reference Bureau. The large elder population coupled with the vulnerability of elders in elder care facilities and limited amount of information on the topic can cause trouble for your elderly loved ones. It is important to be aware of potential elder abuse and neglect so that you can prevent or stop it.
Elder Abuse on the Rise
With the elder population on the rise, we need to understand elder abuse and take steps to prevent against it. It is estimated that around five million elders are abused each year. It is impossible to even know the full extent of this type of abuse, due to the vulnerability of the victims and the often difficulty of reporting the abuse.
Physical and psychological abuse constitute nearly half of all elder abuse. Neglect, sexual abuse, financial abuse, and resident-on-resident abuse make up the rest of elder abuse. Other types of abuse that could occur are healthcare fraud, insurance fraud, and medical errors. The most common types of abuse are bedsores, malnutrition, falls, medical errors, and medication errors.
Factors in Abuse
Some factors that could affect the likelihood of elder abuse are dementia, disability, gender, financial situation, amount of support from friends and family members, emotional and mental state, and loneliness. Most of these factors have to do with how dependant and vulnerable a resident is. The more extensive the patient’s disability and medical issues are, the less mentally stable, and the less support a resident has, the easier it is for them to be taken advantage of and the harder it is to report the abuse.
If you are looking for an elder care facility for your parents or loved one, there are certain things that you should look out for and ask the staff members about to help prevent abuse. This includes looking at the amount of staff members and how many residents are left alone in areas of the facility. Also ask for things like the activities and services that are available. Also ask about monitoring and alert systems in the facility. Finding a safe and well-staffed facility for your parent or loved one is essential for minimizing the risk of abuse or neglect.
If you have questions about elder abuse or you suspect that your parent or loved one is being abused or neglected in an elder care facility, report the abuse, and contact our office to speak with an attorney who can answer your questions and advise you on what to do.