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Statistics Reveal the Frequency of Nursing Home Abuse

It is often said that nursing home abuse and elder abuse are growing problems in the United States, with abuse occurring at much higher rates than the average person would expect. Recent investigations present some statistics that show just how common these crimes truly are.


For context in these statistics, the 2010 census indicated that there were more than 40 million people in the United States who are 65 or older. “Elder abuse” is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be any abuse or neglect of a person age 60 or older. Under the CDC definition, that abuse must occur by someone in a relationship with the victim where there would be an expectation of trust, like a caretaker or relative.


A 2010 study performed by Cornell University in conjunction with the New York City Department for Aging uncovered these facts:


  • The rate of elder abuse is 24 times greater than the number of cases that actually get referred to appropriate authorities. This means that an extreme amount of cases will never actually get reported.
  • Psychological abuse is by far the most common form of elder abuse.
  • At least 260,000 elders have been victims of some form of abuse in the state of New York alone.


Another study indicated that anywhere between seven and 10 percent of all elders surveyed had experienced nursing home abuse within the previous year. An older study by the National Center on Elder Abuse found that out of 2,000 surveyed residents of nursing homes, 44 percent had suffered some form of abuse and 95 percent had been or seen others neglected. The study also indicated that more than 50 percent of people working at nursing homes admitted to mistreatment of residents at least once.


It’s clear that nursing home abuse is a serious problem, and family members of those receiving care in these facilities should be careful and attentive to their loved one’s wellbeing. For more information on your legal rights, consult the dedicated attorneys with Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith and Tartaglia, LLP.

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