Although residents of community living facilities – including nursing homes and other long-term care options – are safer in the U.S. than they are globally, the rate at which older Americans experience abuse in these facilities is staggering.
According to the World Health Organization, approximately one out of every six older adults age 60 or older who are living in a community facility has experienced abuse or neglect within the last year. This global statistic is both shocking and heartbreaking. It is only slightly less devastating to learn that this figure drops to one in six when discussing the American population of older community facility residents.
Types of abuse
Astonishingly, the WHO also reports that in 2017 alone, two out of every three community facility staffers admitted to having abused or neglected a resident within the last year. Understanding what abuse and neglect look like can help you to spot warning signs. The six primary kinds of abuse that occur in community facilities are:
- Physical abuse – Inflicting intentional physical trauma.
- Sexual abuse – Inflicting intentional sexual trauma or unwanted sexual contact.
- Emotional abuse – Inflicting emotional or mental trauma
- Neglect – Failing to attend to a resident’s basic needs
- Exploitation – Manipulating a resident’s finances, assets or identity for the abuser’s gain
- Cultural – Using someone’s identity as a means of control or as a means to inflict suffering – for example, if a resident is Jewish and is forced to eat pork, this is cultural abuse
What can you do?
By understanding the scope of the problem, you’ll be better positioned to make informed decisions if you or a loved one is experiencing mistreatment that could legally be defined as abuse or neglect. If you believe that something is truly wrong, statistically speaking, it probably is. Remaining informed can help you to avoid second-guessing yourself so that you can seek guidance and assistance whenever necessary.