The Prevalence Of Elder Abuse In Nursing Homes

We have mentioned before, senior citizens are the fastest-growing segment of our population.

“10 years ago the number of people 65 and older United States accounted for 12% of the population. In the year 2050 that same age bracket will comprise 21% of the population.”

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse in 2008, there were 3.2 million Americans who resided in nursing homes and another 900,000 lived in assisted-living facilities. In our considered opinion, there are not enough qualified employees now to handle these 4.1 million seniors. What is going to happen when that number nearly doubles in the next three decades?

According to that organization nearly one in three U.S. nursing homes was cited for federal violations that have the potential to cause harm or had caused harm to a resident. And that abuse does not have to be physical, although the bulk of the complaints are-at 29%. 22% of all senior abuse in nursing homes is attributed to other residents-in so-called resident to resident abuse with another 21% reporting psychological abuse. Sexual abuse and financial exploitation are other examples of senior abuse in nursing homes.

In another study of 2000 interviews of nursing home residents 44% said that they had been abused in some way.

Studies show that the estimates of elder abuse and neglect are lower than the actual prevalence because the process used to detect them is deeply flawed mostly due to a lack of resources.

But there is enormous variation in different states on priority given to elder abuse and neglect that makes it difficult to see if any progress is being made in protecting our seniors.

The fact that there is a shortage of qualified employees in assisted living facilities and nursing homes leads to lax hiring practices. One study that we saw reported that close to 60% of all nursing homes in the United States had an employee with a criminal record.

Part of the problem in assisted-living facilities and nursing homes is that documenting and proving complaints of elder abuse are very difficult especially when so many of the patients in these facilities have Alzheimer’s or dementia. Many of them can’t remember what happened to them. Unfortunately, many of the unqualified staff take advantage of that.

That is part of the reason why so many states now are allowing the use of hidden cameras in patient rooms. Until recently the use of hidden cameras was technically illegal, although many children of nursing home patients installed them anyhow to document cases where elder abuse was suspected. The use of hidden cameras is now legal in Oklahoma, Texas and Ohio with other states lining up to legalize the use of this tool to document elder abuse cases.

If you suspect your parents may be victims of elder abuse in an assisted-living facility or nursing home, you owe it to yourself to protect them and detect senior abuse with a hidden camera.

And finally lawsuits may emerge from elder care abuse incidents. But gathering evidence is difficult without a hidden camera to document what happened.

This Boombox Spy Camera makes a great spy camera to catch elder abuse.

The Wall Clock Spy Camera can fit into any situation where you need a covert recording.