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Physical abuse and neglect of the elderly on the rise

Older individuals in United States, including in West Virginia, are victimized daily. This includes suffering physical abuse in nursing homes. Any person who is harmed in a nursing home due to abuse or neglect has the right to seek to hold the facility accountable through the civil court system.

Every year, there are about five million elder abuse cases, based on data from the National Council on Aging. This results in an economic loss of $2.6 billion. In addition, just one out of 24 cases is reported to authorities.

Unfortunately, there has been a rise in the number of elder abuse cases. Cases can fall under five categories, including financial, neglect, emotional, sexual and physical abuse. Most victims of elder abuse are 80 years old or older, and nearly 66 percent of these victims are female. In addition, 60 percent of the victims display signs of confusion or dementia, while 40 percent display signs of depression.

People in West Virginia anticipate that their loved ones will be treated with the utmost respect in nursing homes, which are expected to provide care to residents that the residents' loved ones cannot provide themselves. However, the residents may end up suffering from malnutrition, dehydration, sexual abuse, medication errors or infections due to not being bathed. If physical abuse or neglect occurs in a nursing home, then the provider of the substandard care may be held liable. The nursing home abuse or negligence victim has the right to file a civil claim against the facility, seeking the reimbursement of monetary damages. Monetary compensation in a successfully fought case may help to provide a sense of justice in light of the circumstances surrounding the case.

Source: eveningtribune.com, "Elderly abuse growing problem", Jason Jordan, July 29, 2016

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