Elderly people living in assisted living facilities typically function at higher levels than people in nursing homes and may interact with staff on a limited basis. Residents receive assistance based on his or her personal needs. This does not, however, prevent abuse from staff.
There has been far less research into the subject of abuse in assisted living facilities, but it is known to exist. The real question is how large the problem is, but the numbers that do exist indicate that it’s a potentially large problem.
At the heart of the problem is the lack of regulations and oversight, isolation of residents and the resident’s failure to recognize abuse. Despite this, the numbers that emerge about elder abuse in assisted living are sobering.
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There is no federal oversight of assisted living facilities, and there are no databases that record incidents of abuse. The problem is complicated by the issue of resident isolation. Up to 85 percent of residents are unmarried, and 25 percent have no living children. There is a limited number of third-party witnesses to abuse as a result.
Finally, resident’s show a diminished ability to recognize abuse. A study published by the Gerentologist in 2002 showed that only 54 percent of residents were able to identify abusive situations, and about 50 percent had no idea what to do if confronted by abuse.
The facts above make the situation a perfect environment for abuse to flourish. The facts we do know about assisted living facility abuse includes study data that follows:
The percentage of residents in assisted living facilities who experienced abuse is much lower than residents at nursing homes (33%). It remains unclear whether this is due to the relatively good health of those in assisted living situations or the resident’s lack of ability to recognize abuse.
Either way, with an estimated 800,000 people living in assisted living facilities, that mean that 160,000 are being abused every year. That’s a number destined to rise dramatically as America’s elderly population grows.
An active and watchful public is desperately needed to protect the rights of those abused in assisted living facilities.
Incidents of abuse or neglect can seriously harm a loved one’s health and well-being. If you or a loved one has any reason to suspect abuse of an elderly person, please contact an experienced elderly abuse and neglect attorney.
Our experienced lawyers have been treating clients with compassion and dedication for years, and we’ve been successful in securing justice for victims of neglect and abuse. Our consultations are free, and we’re eager to help get to the bottom of potentially dangerous situations.
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