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Elder Abuse Is Widespread, Yet Only 4% of All Cases Get Reported To Authorities

I had to do a re-read of a recent article appearing in the Tennessean.com regarding the prevalence of elder abuse– or perhaps more accurately the prevalence of un-reported elder abuse in Tennessee.  The article cites a report from The Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability that estimate just 1 out of 23 cases of elder abuse get reported to authorities.

While there may be a number of reasons why elder abuse goes unreported, a primary reason the article points to is the fact that most elder abuse is perpetrated by caregivers who control the individuals access to the outside world– and hence their ability to report the abusive situation to authorities and/or allow others to notice the abuse and report it to authorities.

 Elder Abuse Is WidespreadImportantly, the article also points out that there are varying types of elder abuse aside from flat out assault or battery of an elder.  Other types of abuse such as intentional isolation or neglect are common situations encountered by the elderly reliant on a facility or caregiver for their daily living needs.

Similarly, many elders are frightened to report abusive situations involving caregivers because they fear they may be retaliated upon for coming forward with the abuse.

Hopefully, articles such as this will direct more attention to this important issue.  Too often, I see well-meaning caregivers and families living in denial with respect to the fact that their loved one is as risk for abuse or neglect.

Hopefully, articles such as this will provide a needed wake-up call for families and caregivers and perhaps cause them to be more aware of potentially abusive situations.  Common indicators of elder abuse include:

  • Unknown bruising / fractured bones
  • Sudden change in behavior
  • Change in sleeping patterns
  • Withdrawal
  • Large withdrawals from financial accounts
  • Dirty living conditions
  • Bed sores

As I have been witness, when authorities are contacted as soon after a suspected incident as possible, they are most likely to be successful in determining the abusive perpetrators.  Unfortunately, as times goes on, memories fade and valuable evidence has a way of disappearing.

For more information on nursing homes in Tennessee look here.

Related:

Investigations May Not Always Hold The Answers To How A Nursing Home Injury Or Death Occurred

Elder Abuse: Why Bruises Can Be Tell-Tale Signs Of Poor Care

6 Most Common Causes Of Bed Sores & How Caregivers Can Help

The Real Devastation Associated With Sex Abuse In Nursing Home Will Never Be Known As Most Acts Go Un-reported & Un-prosecuted

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  • Steven F Allen

    I would like to post a blog on my father who was a victim of elder abuse. The abuse was reported to the authorities and now the charges have been dismissed. How can someone steal over a hundred thousand dollars and a home and get away with it? My father had Altzheimers and the person that cared for him has gotten away with it. I was just wondering if anybody really cares. Johnson County Ks authorities don’t. Now they have condoned what has happened by taking no action.

  • Steven-
    Feel free to write as much as you wish regarding your father’s situation. Unfortunately, financial abuse is a major problem facing the elderly– with and without psychological impairment.
    Hopefully, your story will encourage bring attention to this tremendous problem. Thanks for sharing. Jonathan

  • Edie Brassette

    My father is in a nursing home in Lake Charles LA. He doesn’t want to “make waves” concerning his treatment, or mistreatment, there. Like many elderly residents, he fears retaliation should he or any family member ask questions of the staff about his care, medicine, or diet. If I question the staff or try to give them information, I am a “troublemaker”. The fear has the effect of chaotic family dynamics at a time when calm and security is of essence. I could go on and on but I will spare you the details.
    The point is: information gathering and sharing is imperative for aiding any hospitalized or institutionalized person. They need respect and to be treated with dignity. By informing them of their RIGHTS they can be more inolved in their healing instead of being intimidated into submission, confusion, incontinence, and deterioration of mental, physical, and emotional health.

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