Elder abuse cases are among the more heartbreaking I’ve seen as a nursing home lawyer Memphis TN has trusted for decades. Not only is it incredibly painful to watch our loved ones suffer in the years when they’re most in need of peace, but abuse has also been linked to a reduced lifespan. According to some studies, elders who experience even modest abuse have a 300% higher risk of death compared to others their age.
Demographic shifts mean a potentially higher rate of elder abuse.
Sadly, elder abuse—which includes abandonment and neglect; financial exploitation; and both physical and emotional abuse—is likely to become a more common occurrence. The number of Americans over 65 is projected to more than double by 2060. Some researchers estimate that by 2050, the global population of people over 60 will grow to 2 billion. (For context, there were 900 million people aged 60 and older in 2015.)
In light of these expected demographic shifts, it’s more important than ever to shine a spotlight on this heartbreaking problem, one that many health care professionals consider an epidemic but which, for a number of reasons, remains in the dark.
In contrast to child abuse and domestic violence, there has been limited research on elder abuse—and, in turn, limited data for the practitioners, policymakers, and trainers who rely on insights to search for solutions. And beyond the lack of public attention, a significant number of cases go unreported.
It is difficult to know when a senior is being abused.
Every month, one in 10 older adults worldwide is abused or neglected, but many are unreported. The National Center of Elder Abuse (NCEA) estimates that only 1 in 14 cases are reported, while other institutes have estimated 1 in 23.
There’s no question that many seniors are suffering, or have suffered, in silence. Here’s why so much of the abuse has been overlooked, and how we can learn to spot the signs.
- Often, the abused elders have no one to report their abuse to. It’s easy to wonder, why wouldn’t an abused elder tell someone in their family? Well, in many cases the abuser is a family member. In other instances, the abused elder doesn’t have a living family member to turn to. And if the abuse has occurred at the hand of a caretaker—something I’ve seen often as a nursing home lawyer Memphis TN trusts—the elder will probably not report it if they have no remaining family.
- Many elders worry that reporting their abuse will bring negative consequences. Elders have a lot at stake, and stand with much to lose. Many fear retaliation—perhaps an abusive caregiver will be further fueled if their victim comes forward. For those living independently, whose abusive or neglectful caregivers come their homes, reporting the abuse comes with a risk of being forced into a nursing home facility.
- They are ashamed. Like victims of any form of abuse, abused elders may feel too embarrassed to talk about what’s happened to them, even with someone they trust. Similarly, it’s hard to know how to talk about elder abuse, and equally difficult to file a report, or to know who to reach out to.
Get help from a nursing home lawyer Memphis TN can count on.
We need to hold abusers accountable. Period. Our lawyers have decades of experience and are committed to helping victims pursue justice.
If you suspect a loved one is the victim of elder abuse, call us at (901) 327-1212 or contact us online. Rest assured that we’ll be with you every step of the way.