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Is Elder Abuse More Common Than We Think?

As San Diego elder abuse attorneys, we are concerned by the rate at which elder abuse is growing in San Diego and across the country. According to a new study published in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, the problem is likely much more common than people think.

As highlighted by the study authors, an estimated 10 percent of U.S. older adults have experienced some form of elder abuse. Yet only small percentage of the abuse is ever reported. In many cases, seniors are either too afraid to report the abuse for fear of retaliation or embarrassment or simply do not know that they are being abused.

“Elder abuse is a common, identifiable, fatal and costly condition that occurs across sociodemographic and socioeconomic strata around the world,” lead study author Dr. Xin Qi Dong, a researcher in aging at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, told Reuters.

Elder abuse can take a variety of forms, ranging from physical or sexual mistreatment to neglect. In addition, all seniors are vulnerable. While cognitive impairment is most strongly associated with a risk of being abused, the researchers found that elder use is also prevalent among elderly people with impaired physical function and those suffering psychological distress or social isolation.

Based on their findings, the researchers highlight that doctors and other healthcare workers are often in the best position to spot abuse. “Doctors or social workers need to ask the patient when they are alone, and if there is any suspicion at all a home visit should be arranged,” they write.

If your loved one has unexplained injuries, bed sores, or any other warning signs, and you are suspicious of elder abuse or nursing home negligence, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit, including a wrongful death law suit if the elder abuse has led to death. You can find more information about the signs of elder abuse here.

If you or someone you love has fallen victim to elder abuse or nursing home negligence, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.