As the Number of Elderly Increases, Abuse is Rising
The older population is growing rapidly, a trend that the U.S. Census Bureau predicts will continue until 2030 when the last of the baby boom generation turns 65. The over-65 population is projected to be double in 2030 what it was in 2000, increasing from 35 million to 72 million. As the elderly population grows, more and more people will find themselves in need of care. Whereas there was once a time when families could be counted on to care for their aging members, the economic realities of today’s world don’t lend themselves to the old model of eldercare, because in most families, all adults usually need to work outside of the home. This means that more elderly people need to look to assisted living facilities and nursing homes for the help they need with day-to-day living.
Prevalence of abuse
When relatively vulnerable and helpless people are put into the care of strangers, neglect and active abuse become more likely. This is especially true when the residences for the elderly are understaffed. The National Center on Elder Abuse in the United States conducted a study of nursing homes and found that a full 50 percent of them are understaffed. The study also indicated that in at least 30 percent of all nursing homes, patients are being abused. This figure is probably low, because research has shown that only one in five instances of abuse is reported, leaving the large majority out of the statistics.
Kinds of abuse
Abuse taking place in nursing homes and assisted living homes is sometimes by staff members and sometimes by other residents.
It can take various forms, ranging from neglect leading to bedsores, ulcers, dehydration, and malnutrition to active physical, sexual, emotional, and financial abuse. With institutionalized care of the older generation likely to continue increasing, steps need to be taken to prevent these kinds of abuse. And sadly, not all abuse takes place in care facilities; some happens right in the elderly person’s own home or in the home of a family member. Abuse should be reported to Adult Protective Services and the police.
The Seattle, Washington law firm of Wattel and York has helped many elderly people who have suffered from various kinds of abuse, both in private homes and group care facilities. If you are an older person in need of help, or if you know of someone who is being abused, we will evaluate the case at no cost to determine if there are grounds for a civil suit against the abuser and/or the facility to recover losses, including lost assets, pain, suffering, emotional distress, deterioration of health, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Call us today for an appointment. If you can’t make it to our office, we will come to you. We are deeply committed to improving the well-being of the older citizens of our state and will help those who have suffered abuse to pursue adequate compensation to live out the remainder of their years in the comfort they have been denied.
- Signs of Abuse
- Sexual Abuse
- Physical Abuse
- Bed Sores/ Ulcers
- Financial Elder Abuse