$3,100,000Pressure sore death
$2,333,000Fall involving traumatic brain injury
$1,500,000Bedsore settlement
$1,499,000Dementia patient injury
$1,250,000Repeated fall injuries

Elder Abuse Statistics

Elder abuse is a growing concern worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated one in 6 older adults experience some form of abuse, with only one in 24 cases reported.

This abuse can take many forms, including physical, emotional, sexual abuse, and financial abuse. Unfortunately, many victims of elder abuse suffer in silence, often at the hands of their own family members or caregivers.

Is your loved one the victim of elder abuse and neglect? The personal injury attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC legally advocate for injured nursing home residents and those receiving care at home.

Contact our nursing home abuse lawyers at (800) 926-7565 or use the contact form to schedule a free consultation . All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.

Prevalence of Elder Abuse

The prevalence of elder abuse is difficult to determine due to underreporting, but research shows it is a widespread issue. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), approximately one in 10 older people have experienced some form of elder abuse.

Additionally, elder abuse will likely increase as the older men and women population grows.

When Does Elder Abuse Occur?

Elder abuse can happen anywhere to anyone, regardless of age, gender, race, or socioeconomic status. However, certain factors increase an individual’s risk of becoming a victim of elder abuse or neglect.

For instance, older men and women who are isolated or dependent on others for care are more vulnerable to abuse. Additionally, those with a history of substance abuse, mental health problems, or cognitive impairment may also be at increased risk.

Types of Elder Abuse

Most elder abuse occurs through various means, including:

  • Physical abuse involves using force that causes physical pain, injury, or impairment, such as hitting, slapping, kicking, or pushing.
  • Sexual abuse: involves any unwanted sexual interaction or activity, such as touching or sexual assault.
  • Emotional/psychological abuse involves behavior that causes mental anguish, fear, or distress, such as name-calling, belittling, or isolation. Verbal or emotional abuse can also include threats of harm or abandonment.
  • Financial abuse involves the misuse or withholding of an older person’s resources, such as money, property, or assets, such as stealing or coercion. Exploitation involves misusing an elder’s resources, such as money or property, for another person’s benefit.

Financial abuse can include forging signatures on checks, taking funds without permission, misusing a power of attorney to access accounts, and putting assets in someone else’s name.

  • Nursing home neglect involves failing to provide an older adult with basic needs, such as food, shelter, or medical care, such as inadequate hygiene, medical care, or necessary medication.

Elder Abuse Statistics

While the extent of elder abuse is difficult to determine, research suggests it is a significant and growing problem. Recent elder abuse statistics include:

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Data

  • In 2019, more than 25,000 physical abuse, neglect, or exploitation cases were reported in nursing homes to CMS.
  • Almost 37% of these cases in skilled nursing facilities involved severe bodily injury or death.
  • Physical abuse in nursing homes was the most commonly reported type of abuse, followed by gross neglect, psychological abuse, and sexual abuse.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Data

  • According to a CDC study, an estimated one in 10 Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse and neglect.
  • Financial exploitation is the most commonly reported type of abuse, followed by emotional, physical, and sexual abuse.
  • Only one in 14 cases of elder abuse are reported to authorities.

American Medical Association (AMA) Data

  • The AMA reports that elder abuse is a significant public health problem, with an estimated 2.1 million older people in the United States being victimized yearly.
  • The cost of nursing home abuse to society is approximately $5.3 billion annually.

National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) Data

  • According to the NCEA, resident abuse in long-term care facilities is a growing problem. One study found that 20% of nursing home residents report elder abuse.

National Center for Victims of Crime Data

  • The National Elder Mistreatment study found that most elder abuse victims are women. The most common abusers are a family member, particularly adult children.

Administration for Community Living (ACL) Data

  • The ACL reports that more than one in 10 elderly adults experienced elder abuse in the past year.
  • The most common elder abuse reported to Adult Protective Services was neglect and financial exploitation, followed by emotional, physical, and sexual abuse.

The Older Americans Act

The Older Americans Act (OAA) is a federal law first enacted in 1965 to provide funding for a range of OAA funds meal delivery, caregiver support, legal assistance, and elder abuse prevention programs.

OAA has been an essential tool in addressing the issue of caregiver neglect, providing funding for programs and services that help prevent and respond to abuse.

Risk Factors for Elder Abuse

Understanding the risk factors for elder abuse is essential to prevent and intervene in cases of abuse. Certain factors increase the likelihood of an older adult experiencing abuse, including demographic, family, and social risk factors.

Demographic Risk Factors

Demographic risk factors are related to an older person’s characteristics or situation. These factors include age, gender, race, socioeconomic status, and disability status.

For example, elderly adults who live alone, have limited mobility, or depend on others for care may be at increased risk of abuse.

Family and Social Risk Factors

Family and social risk factors relate to an older adult’s social network and living situation. Family members, caregivers, and others in the older adult’s life may contribute to or perpetrate abuse. For example, adult children dependent on their older parents for financial support may be more likely to exploit them financially.

Additionally, those who experience social isolation, have strained relationships with family members, or lack access to support services may also be at increased risk.

Reporting and Responding to Elder Abuse

Reporting and responding to elder abuse is essential to protect older men and women from harm and hold perpetrators accountable in a health care setting. However, many elder abuse cases go unreported due to fear of nursing home staff members, shame, or lack of awareness.

Suspected Abuse

If you suspect an older adult is being abused, it is vital to take action. Signs of abuse can include physical injuries, broken bones, unexplained weight loss, changes in behavior, and financial exploitation.

It is important to approach the older adult that is being harmed in a nursing home or assisted living facility with sensitivity and respect, as they may hesitate to disclose abuse or fear retaliation.

Reporting Abuse and Neglect Incidents

Reporting abuse or neglect incidents is critical to ensuring the safety and well-being of elderly adults. There are several ways to report suspected abuse, including contacting Adult Protective Services (APS), law enforcement, or a local ombudsman program.

In cases of immediate danger, calling 911 is appropriate. It is essential to provide as much information as possible about the suspected abuse, including the name and location of the older adult, the alleged perpetrator, and any witnesses.

Prevention of Elder Abuse

Prevention is key to addressing elder abuse of older men and women, as it is often easier to prevent abuse from occurring than to intervene in cases of abuse. Several strategies for preventing elder abuse include education and awareness campaigns, policy and legal changes, and support services for older adults and caregivers.

Education and Awareness

Education and awareness campaigns are important to increase knowledge and understanding of elder abuse and promote healthy relationships and caregiving practices. These campaigns can include public service announcements, community outreach, and professional training.

Policy and Legal Changes

Policy and legal changes are also essential to prevent elder abuse, as they can provide greater protections and resources for older adults and caregivers. Examples of policy and legal changes can include increased funding for elder abuse prevention programs, more substantial penalties for elder abuse, and improved regulation and oversight of long-term care facilities.

Support Services

Support services for older adults and caregivers are essential to prevent elder abuse, as they can provide resources and assistance to help older adults remain independent and healthy. These support services can include caregiver training and respite care, home modification and transportation assistance, and health and wellness programs for older adults.

Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer to Resolve an Elder Abuse Compensation Claim

When an elderly loved one has suffered abuse, neglect, or harm, seeking justice can be crucial in helping them move forward. Hiring a personal injury lawyer is one way to pursue justice and compensation.

The family caregiver and other family members can file an elder abuse report and compensation claim, which the services of a qualified nursing home abuse attorney can help aid.

At Nursing Home Law Center, LLC, personal injury attorneys offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that clients only pay if we win their case. Contact us at (800) 926-7565 or use the contact form for a free consultation.


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