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Elder abuse still largely hidden nationwide

Shockingly, one in 10 Americans over the age of 60 is the victim of abuse. Strangers are not always the abusers, either. Often, the abusers are those who in actuality are supposed to care for these elders. Such abuse may be physical, mental, emotional, financial, psychological or sexual, and can be premeditated, deliberate abandonment or neglect. However, another aspect of elder abuse is also coming to light – inter-resident abuse.

According to the Gerontological Society of America, the various forms of abuse perpetrated on seniors-in-care has seen a dramatic uptick in nursing homes and other elder care facilities. Even though this seems to be a poorly kept secret, the issue still remains largely hidden. Sadly, for every reported case, there are an estimated 23 unreported cases. This means that there are more than 5 million cases of elder abuse in U.S. facilities, homes and community settings.

The City and County of Los Angeles noted an increase of 500 elder abuse cases in 2014 at board-and-care homes, nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. Many of those cases involved other residents, but some also involved abuse by a staff member or a younger adult with a disability. Many do not realize that nursing home residents can range in age from 18 to 100.

Weill Cornell Medical University and Cornell University have just complete some startling new research that shows that inappropriate, hostile and disruptive behavior among nursing home residents is a growing issue. This issue has another companion riding its coattails, which is abuse by others living in the same nursing home.

With such a diversity of ages and disabilities, ranging from mental illnesses to dementia, the probability of hostile interactions is very high. Forced to live in close quarters with others with physical or mental problems that culminate in possible incompatibility issues, often results in serious anger management and personal boundary breaches for those who feel or think they have no other recourse but to act up and act out.

Anyone who suspects elder abuse is occurring in any setting should speak to an elder abuse attorney and find out what can be done to stop it.