Elder abuse is defined as “intentional actions that cause harm or create a serious risk of harm (whether or not harm is intended) to a vulnerable elder by a caregiver or other person who stands in a trust relationship to the elder.” This means that if the elder’s care giver, whether that person is a family member or paid attendant, fails to provide proper care they are guilty of elder abuse.
According to recent major studies, 7.6 percent to 10 percent of elderly responders had experienced abuse within the previous year. One study reported that, excluding financial abuse, 1 in 10 adults had experienced elder abuse.
Because elder abuse is not always physical, it can be difficult to identify. One study estimated that only 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse is brought to the attention of authorities. People often assume abuse means physical violence. However, elder abuse can include psychological abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation. Major financial exploitation ranked as the highest reported type of elder abuse, with a self-reported rate of 41 persons per 1,000, while another study claims financial exploitation comprises 77 percent of elder abuse reported to the Adult Protective Service.
Elder abuse is often difficult to pinpoint, as those suffering the abuse may not be able to verbalize it. It is important to be able to identify the signs of elder abuse.
Identifying and Stopping Elder Abuse
While most facilities and individuals charged with caring for Arizona’s seniors and vulnerable population do their jobs well, the Adult Protective Services (APS) shows an increasing trend in the reporting of elder abuse. In the past decade, reported elder abuse has increased 150 percent. Neglect comprises 19 percent of Arizona’s reported cases, while physical or emotional abuse equate to approximately 20 percent of reported cases.
While the majority of abusers have been identified as family members, there are still many elder abuse cases involving nursing home employees. About 3.2 million Americans live in long-term care facilities. That number is going to grow in the future as more “baby-boomers” age and transition to assisted living. A 2000 study that interviewed 2,000 nursing home residents reported that 44 percent of these residents had been abused, while 95 percent of them had been neglected or seen another resident neglected.
What Can I Do About Elder Abuse?
Unfortunately, we simply do not how many people are suffering from elder abuse and neglect. If you fear a loved one has suffered any form of abuse or neglect while in a long-term care facility, it is important to act quickly. By utilizing the services of Arizona’s experienced elder abuse lawyers at the Sam Harding Law Firm, you can begin building your case and potentially receive compensation for the negligent or violent actions of someone tasked with caring for you or your aging family member. Do not waste time and allow the abuse to continue. Contact the Sam Harding Law Firm today for a free initial consultation.