A recent story out of North Carolina revealed an illegal fight club being run by nursing home workers, forcing dementia patients to fight each other as the workers watched and recorded. It’s a horrific look into the mismanagement and abuse present at one nursing home but fails to recognize the common nature of such abuse.
While the specifics of the case may be rather particular, elder abuse, and nursing home abuse, in particular, is rampant across the country. Elder abuse can come in many forms, from emotional to physical to financial, and it’s estimated that as many as 1 in 10 elders has experienced some form of abuse. This is due to their often vulnerable and isolated nature, and the desire of for-profit institutions to cover up any allegations of abuse by their staff members and residents. Abuse can be in the form of:
- Physical violence
- Sexual assault
- Unnecessary drugging
- Failure to provide the correct medication
- Failure to provide food
- Causing emotional stress through humiliation or intimidation
- Failure to meet hygiene needs
24.3% of all elders living in nursing homes report having experienced abuse since moving to a nursing home.
While physical and emotional abuse are crippling to both elders and their loved ones, elder negligence is just as destructive, and it affects 14% of all elder abuse victims. Neglect is more likely to happen at home than in a nursing home but is still more common than it ever should be. Neglect occurs when an elder’s basics are not met, which can happen either intentionally or by accident. Many families simply are not equipped to take comprehensive care of a dependent elder. This is why nursing homes are such an important part of our communities, and why they need better oversight.
Elders have basic human rights, and should never be treated like they are less than. Elders who have been abused usually show certain signs, including:
- Unexplained bruising
- Unexplained bleeding
- Unexplained behavioral changes
- Loss of possessions
Elder abuse affects the entire community and can be perpetrated by nursing home employees, fellow residents, or even family members, male or female. If you or your loved one is the victim of elder abuse, it’s important that you report the abuse to try and slow the rampant abuse present in our country.