Elder Abuse and the Poor

When our elderly loved ones require care at a nursing home or assisted living facility, we need to balance the costs of a facility with the quality of care we know they’ll be receiving.  It’s necessary to remember that nursing home abuse and neglect can occur at even the most high-end, expensive facilities, so it’s important to do our research.  But what about older Americans who can’t afford to comparison shop?

Old Guy

If you have concerns about your elderly loved one’s safety and care in a nursing home or assisted living facility, it’s important to talk with an experienced San Diego nursing home abuse lawyer.  At the Walton Law Firm, we have years of experience handling elder abuse claims in Southern California and can speak to you today.

Rates of Emotional and Physical Abuse Among Seniors

Many seniors are on a very stringent fixed income, and many are even below the poverty line.  How prevalent is elder abuse among low-income older adults?  According to a recent article in the Huffington Post, low-income older adults actually make up a startlingly high percentage of those who have been subject to elder abuse.

A 2010 study that appeared in the American Journal of Public Health reported an abuse rate of more than 10 percent among Americans aged 65 and over.  Of those who have suffered a form of nursing home abuse or neglect, 4.6 percent indicated they had been the victims of emotional abuse, while 1.6 percent told researchers they had suffered physical abuse.  Another 5 percent experienced injuries caused by neglect.

And those numbers might be on the low side.  To be sure, a recent study in the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine suggested that elder abuse rates were much higher than 10 percent among elderly Hispanic/Latino populations.

Low-Income Older Adults in Southern California

A 2012 study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society took a closer look at low-income Latino seniors in the Los Angeles area.  According to that study, the rates of elder abuse in these communities were surprisingly higher than those reported by the American Journal of Public Health.

Specifically, 17 percent of the Hispanic/Latino elders who participated in the study indicated that they “had experienced some form of financial exploitation.”  And the numbers for emotional and physical abuse were even higher.  About 25 percent reported being the victims of psychological abuse, while another 9 percent told researchers they had suffered from sexual abuse.

Any senior can become the victim of elder abuse, regardless of income level or race.  And Congress is beginning to take important steps to combat nursing home abuse and neglect across the country.  In fact, the Labor/HHS Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee recently approved $10 million that will go toward the Elder Justice Initiative.

Advocates like those in the California Elder Justice Coalition have helped to encourage government funding to stop elder abuse, and they have helped to bring greater awareness about the serious and fatal injuries that result from neglect.  If you are concerned that your elderly parent has sustained injuries because of nursing home abuse, contact a San Diego elder abuse lawyer today to discuss your case.

Photo Credit: Neil. Moralee via Compfight cc

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