The unfortunate truth is that nursing home neglect is a big issue facing the elderly today. It often happens when nursing homes are understaffed and there are simply not enough workers to take care of all of the people they're tasked with caring for. It also happens when workers are not committed to offering high-level care and may even feel some resentment toward the elderly.
The type of setting that the elderly person lives in does play a role. Researchers looked at three different areas to track the rates:
- Elder neglect in community settings that was reported by the elderly adults themselves: 4.2%
- Neglect in institution settings that was reported by either the elderly or their proxies: 11.6%
- Neglect in institution settings that was reported by the staff: 12%.
Now, there is some question about whether or not neglect is underreported, especially when looking at the reports from the elderly themselves. Reasons that they may not report it include:
- They may lack the cognitive ability to understand what is happening.
- They may forget what has happened.
- They may feel nervous or ashamed.
- They may be worried about offending the staff members.
- They may not know how to bring it up.
- They may not realize that they are being neglected even when they are.
If the numbers are underreported, then this study, while it helps to shed some light on the issues, does not fully demonstrate just how serious this problem is or how many people it impacts. What is clear is that if you have a loved one who has been seriously neglected, you may need to look into your legal options.