Published On: Wed, Oct 10th, 2018

World Health Organization Report Paints Damning Picture Of Elder Abuse

Finding solutions to hard problems is what this blog is all about, but it can be difficult and problematic when the source of a problem revolves around is something or someone that’s near and dear to your heart. If you have an elderly relative like a parent or grandparent who is no longer able to look after themselves the only option may be to entrust their care to a residential home. Yet, while there are many, many hard working and passionate caring professionals out there who are dedicated to enriching and improving the lives of the elderly there are some who are neglectful of their duties or even abusive of the power they have. While, needless to say, researching a prospective residential care home is an important measure in ensuring the happiness and wellbeing of our elders, even the best barrel can contain a bad apple.

Image by PxHere

Even if you do not suspect your loved one is directly affected by elder abuse, a shocking report from the World Health Organization released this year paints a sobering picture of the scope of the problem.


The shocking truth

The report indicates that a staggering 1 in 6 residential care patients had experienced some form of abuse in the past year. In the USA alone, 95% of residential patients claim to have witnessed the abuse of a peer. Moreover, nursing home residents who are the victims of abuse abused have a 300% increase in mortality risk.

Worse still, the report estimates that only 1 in 24 cases actually gets reported. It could be due to nursing homes having insufficient preventative checks or the silencing of whistleblowers with threats and intimidation. In many cases, abuse cases go unreported as the abuser is actually a close friend or relative. While this paints a troubling and damning portrait, with the help of an attorney who specializes in nursing home neglect you can seek justice. The best way to arm yourself and your loved ones against this menace is by knowing the signs.


Signs of elder abuse

Elder abuse takes many forms, and as such so do its symptoms. Different forms of abuse can manifest in different ways. For example, if there is a lot of unexplainable activity on their bank account this may point to financial abuse such as theft or fraud. Likewise unexplained injuries like cuts, bruises or burns which they refuse to report to a doctor may also be suspicious.

In many cases, however, the abuse and its symptoms are less obvious. As the report indicates, psychological abuse and bullying are among the most common forms of elder abuse and these may manifest in more subtle ways. These may include;


  • Trouble sleeping / seeming tired or sleep deprived.
  • Lack of enjoyment in favorite activities.
  • Quietness or unwillingness to communicate.
  • Seeming reclusive or withdrawn.
  • Rocking back and forth.
  • Biting or sucking on their sleeves.
  • Mood swings


Of course, many of these symptoms may also be signs of dementia, so it’s important not to leap to conclusions, but they should certainly be reported and used as a basis on which to build a potential case.

Only when we are all aware of the scope of the problem and the signs of its manifestation can we work together to combat it.