It may seem that anyone who noticed an elder being abused would speak up but this is far from true. At The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker we have worked on many elder abuse cases and it is often the case that the abuse was known about long before it was abused. This may be hard to understand but many people in a position to see the abuse are also in a position to lose a lot by reporting it. Keep reading to learn more. Then contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 for a free legal consutlation with a personal injury attorney.
Many People Are Afraid to Report Elder Abuse Due to Worry of Retribution
The most common reason people give for failing to report elder abuse is worry of retaliation. According to one study, about only one in five instances of elder abuse in nursing home is ever reported. The four out of five that go unreported is generally due to worry of payback from staff members.
It is not just the employees of the nursing homes who have these fears. Employees of the nursing facility fear that they will lose employment, that their hours will be reduced, and that management will simply cover up their real complaints. The people who are being abused are afraid that they will be abused even worse if they say anything and they are often made to believe that no one would believe.
Family members of the abused victims worry that their loved one could be removed from the nursing home if they report it. This would not be an issue if the family member has other options available to them but when the nursing home their elder is in is the only nursing home they can afford or that the elder qualifies for, then the worry of being kicked out can be very real.
Even people who research this issue can be the victims of retribution. Consider that two researchers who published PhDs on the topic were banned from residential care facilities. One of them lost contracts and was forced to sell his home and relocate to another city that would allow for additional research.
Elder Abuse is Becoming a Bigger Concern in California
There are about a quarter million seniors currently living in nursing homes/licensed long-term care facilities. There are another 150,000 living in facilities that are not licensed – often because they do not meet the standards of care required for licensure. These numbers are only going to go up, as the elderly population in the state is scheduled to more than double by 2025 compared to 2000 numbers. The projected number gest up to 6.4 million.
According to a report from the California Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes, 13% of the complaints received by the State Long Term Care Ombudsman involved neglect, abuse, or exploitation. To put that number in perspective, consider that the national rate is 5%.