Elder abuse highlighted in the New York Times

Alabama residents might be hesitant to enter nursing homes after hearing that the New York Times highlighted the occurrence of elder abuse in America. The Elder Maltreatment Alliance reported that in 2011, three to five million elderly people were victims of some sort of abuse, whether it was physical abuse or exploitation.

According to the New York Times, a woman who was a copper heiress worth $300 million was exploited for donations. The woman lived in a hospital room in New York City for the last 20 years of her life. Upon learning of her fortune, officials at the hospital presented her with gifts to persuade her for donations. In this case, rather than the woman experiencing nursing home neglect, she was treated kindly in order to gain donations.

Some elderly people are not as fortunate as the woman above. Some experience physical abuse in nursing homes. Michigan State University conducted a telephone survey of adults with elderly relatives regarding elderly abuse. Nearly one-fourth of the people interviewed in the telephone survey reported at least one incident of physical elderly abuse by nursing home staff. Furthermore, they discovered elderly people who suffered from limitations in daily activities, older adult behavioral difficulties and previous abuse by non-staff people were more likely to experience physical abuse.

Another survey that was published in "The Gerontologist" conducted interviews with elderly people in nursing homes in the Boston metropolitan area. The interviewers spoke with them about any kind of abuse they had experienced. Some of them expressed that they had undergone physical abuse, verbal abuse and neglect. The rate of elderly people abused was approximately 32 for every 1,000 interviewed.

Personal injury lawyers may be able to help family members of people who were neglected in nursing homes file personal injury claims against the homes. They may also aid in the negotiation of a settlement.

Source: Medical Daily, "Elder Abuse: An Impending National Crisis?", Susan Scutti, May 30, 2013

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