According to the American Psychological Association, approximately 4 million Americans experience some form of psychological, sexual or financial abuse every year. The effects of elder abuse and neglect are serious. The quality of life for those that are abused is severely jeopardized due to feelings of loneliness, helplessness or financial instability and those who are abused even tend to die earlier than those who do not experience abuse.
Why the elderly do not report abuse and neglect
Even though the effects of elder abuse are serious, many of these cases go unreported because:
- Those working with the elderly have lack of training relating to abuse.
- The abused elderly person is afraid to report the abuse out of fear of retaliation from their caregiver.
- The elderly person lacks the cognitive capabilities to report the abuse.
- Those who are abused don't want to get their caregiver in trouble.
Not only do a large number of elder abuse cases go unreported, but they are also expected to increase as the number of seniors in the U.S. rises. In addition to this, the number of abuse cases is also expected to rise due to increased life expectancies among the elderly population.
A solution to an increasing problem
In order to combat the numerous cases of elder abuse that go reported and unreported, new legislation in Ohio would give nursing home patients that right to set up a monitoring device in their room to catch staff members that are abusive, says Cleveland.com. This piece of legislation, otherwise known as House Bill 298, is designed to protect elderly nursing home residents. For example, a state representative who is a proponent of this bill had a father who lived in a nursing home who they suspected was being neglected while in care. His father eventually went into shock as a result of dehydration. It is suspected that the caregivers at the home would withhold water from this man so that they would not have to change his clothing after he had an accident.
However, although this piece of legislation could potentially protect the elderly from situations like this one, nursing homes throughout the state are concerned about the way it would affect the privacy of these homes.
Despite efforts of legislators in Ohio to enact legislation aimed at protecting the elderly, nursing home abuse and neglect is still a real problem for the elderly living in nursing homes. If you have a loved one that was abused while in care, contact an attorney in your area that can preserve their legal rights.