Elder Abuse Increases as Residents Get Younger
Recently, there has been a shift in the average age of residents living in nursing homes across the country. Since the 1990s, the number of residents under the age of 65 has significantly increased while the number of residents over the age of 65 continues to decrease. This shift in demographics has coincided with a steady rise in nursing home abuse complaints among residents aged 65 and older.
Nursing homes are intended to be an environment where people can be safe, comfortable, and secure. However, with Medicaid and Medicare covering younger mentally ill individuals, the ability for nursing homes to provide adequate security and protection for their older residents has become compromised. Typically, nursing homes are understaffed and the employees can sometimes be undertrained and underpaid. These conditions contribute to unsafe practices that enable the abuse of elder residents.
Elder abuse is a serious offense. Those accused of this crime face steep penalties like jail time, expensive fines, and financial damages owed to the victims and their families.
What Is Elder Abuse?
Elder abuse occurs when a person knowingly or willfully causes an elderly person to unjustifiably suffer physical pain or mental anguish. This includes placing an elderly person in a situation where his or her health is endangered. An elder is defined as a person aged 65 or older.
The increase of residents under the age of 65 has made claims of elder abuse more difficult to substantiate. This means accusation of harm must be made under different grounds like negligence, assault, battery, or emotional distress.
We Can Assist with Your Claim
Employees entrusted to care for the elderly are required to report any instance of abuse they might witness. This includes suspected abuse as well. Administrators, supervisors, licensed staff, care custodians, and employees of adult protective services are all beholden to this responsibility and can face legal repercussions should they fail to report elder abuse.
Have you or a loved one experienced elder abuse in a nursing home? Call (843) 343-5092 today, or contact our Charleston elder law attorney for a free legal consultation.