Nursing Home Abuse Myths: What You Should and Should Not Believe

December 24, 2020

No one wants to believe their loved one can suffer from nursing home abuse. But the truth is that it does happen—to over 5,000,000 nursing home residents each year, in fact; that equates to 1 in 10 seniors over the age of 60.

But what abuse myths surround these statistics? How can you tell if your loved one is a victim?

Here is a list of nursing home abuse statistics, the 5 most common nursing home abuse myths, and the truth that proves them wrong.

Nursing Home Abuse Statistics

The fact there are over 5,000,000 nursing home residents that suffer from abuse each year is not the only statistic to feel concerned about. That statistics is definitely not one of those abuse myths. Other alarming statistics regarding nursing home abuse include the following:

  • As many as 24.3% of nursing home residents have experienced an episode of physical abuse.
  • Only 1 in 14 episodes of abuse get officially reported.
  • Adult Protective Services (APS) indicates an increasing number of reported abuses in recent years.
  • The National Center for Victims of Crime lists self-reported elder abuses with the following:
    • Physical abuse = 5% to 10%
    • Verbal abuse = 60%
    • Neglect = 14%

But what constitutes nursing home abuse?

Forms of Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home abuse can take on the following forms:

  • Physical abuse—getting hit, slapped, pinched, or enduring other physical pain
  • Sexual abuse—forced to watch or participate in sexual behavior
  • Emotional/Psychological abuse—being isolated, ignored, or bullied
  • Neglect—getting little to no attention for personal care and needs
  • Financial Abuse—getting robbed of cash, checks, retirement, or Social Security benefits

Now that you know the forms of nursing home abuse, here is a list of the 5 most common nursing home abuse myths, and the truth that proves them wrong.

5 Most Common Nursing Home Abuse Myths

Elder neglect only occurs in nursing home.

This one of the nursing home abuse myths is very prevalent. Regardless of where your elderly loved one resides, they can be at risk for abuse. Elder neglect, considered synonymous with nursing home abuse, can happen anywhere by anyone—in an assisted living facility or in the senior’s own home, perpetrated by their own family members or by caregivers hired to care for them.

There is no need to feel concerned if there are no physical signs of abuse.

While physical abuse does happen, the most common types of abuse do not cause bodily injuries. Verbal, emotional, physical, and even financial abuse happen and leave no physical evidence.

Only caregivers can determine the type of care that an elder receives.

Both residents and the loved ones can determine the care plan and the type of care that is to be received. If you suspect abuse, neglect, or exploitation of your elderly loved one, ensure to take an active interest and play a primary role in their care.

Abuse does not occur if the elderly resident does not complain.

Fear will often keep a nursing home resident from reporting or complaining about physical abuse, neglect, or emotional cruelty. A lot of times, victims of abuse do even realize what is happening to them due to diagnoses such as dementia. If you suspect your loved has been abused or maltreated while living in a nursing home, report your concerns.

Nursing home abuse is always apparent.

While physical abuse may have obvious physical signs, many times they do not. Try not to assume that small marks or other physical bruising are simply associated with accidental falls or the aging process. Different kinds of abuse have no physical signs—like emotional, psychological, or verbal abuse.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

What signs and symptoms can you look out for that may suggest your loved one is a victim of elder abuse?

WebMD suggests the following:

  • Any unexplainable cuts, bruises, marks, or bleeding
  • Sprains
  • Fractures or broken bones
  • Injuries that occur more than once
  • Injuries in which the senior refuses medical care
  • Unexplained changes in the elder’s behavior
  • Acting withdrawn or frightened
  • Depression or confusion
  • General loss of interest in hobbies or activities
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Sudden loss of weight without other known causes
  • Bedsores

Contact Us

If your loved one lives in a South Carolina nursing home facility and you suspect they may be the victim of maltreatment, do not hesitate to reach out for help. The personal injury attorneys at Connell Law Firm specialize in helping individuals, families, and seniors alike deal with nursing home abuse. So do not hesitate! Contact the Connell Law Firm today.