According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), the elderly population in America is growing exponentially. Following current projected population growth rates, we’re expected to have over 50 million elderly citizens (aged 65+) by the year 2020. By 2050, we’ll have over 80 million elderly residents. These statistics are proof that modern science and medicine have made wonderful impacts on our longevity, but they also prove that long term elderly care needs to quickly become a priority.
Providing satisfactory elderly care on a national level begins at the state level. This means improving nursing homes and other long term care facilities in every state. In Georgia, we have a long way to go until we accomplish this goal. Our state has some of the worst nursing homes in the nation. As we can see from these Georgia nursing home rankings from 2014, Georgia ranks #43 in the nation for overall nursing home quality. Our nursing homes are ranked lowest among all 8 southeast U.S. states, in fact.
According to another report, 1 in 4 Georgia nursing homes received the lowest possible rating—one star—in federal quality rankings in long term care facilities. Studies like this help prove that Georgia has a long way to go until we can state that our elderly residents are bring properly cared for, but studies like this also help prove another fact: Transparency is vital. When we have a clear understanding of how well our elderly residents are being cared for, we can begin to make improvements.
The same can be said for nursing home abuse and neglect in our state. With the quality ratings of most Georgia nursing homes being so low, it’s almost guaranteed that neglect and abuse occur more often than many individuals likely imagine. It’s difficult to obtain concrete Georgia nursing home abuse statistics, but transparency is the first step to learning these statistics and taking action to improve them.
On a nationwide level, it’s estimated that 10% of our elderly population in 2015 suffered from some type of abuse. This includes physical abuse, neglect, verbal/psychological abuse, sexual abuse, and financial abuse. The three most common types of abuse include verbal mistreatment (seen in 9% of all elderly individuals), financial mistreatment (3.5%), and physical abuse (less than 1%). Many of these cases occur in nursing homes where family members are not always present.
As our elderly population increases, it’s almost inevitable that these numbers will continue to rise throughout the U.S. and in Georgia unless we take action to keep our loved ones safe. A 2012 study from the various state Adult Protective Services (APS) agencies shows an increasing trend in elder abuse reports and seems to confirm this.
We must also remember that many instances of elder abuse go unreported. A 2011 study in New York found that for every known case of elder abuse, there are approximately 24 unknown cases of abuse. This statistic is astonishing when you think about it. When we place a loved one into a nursing home or long term care facility, we trust that they will be properly taken care of, but unfortunately this simply isn’t always true.
If you have reason to believe an elderly loved one is getting abused or neglected in a nursing home or care facility in Georgia, you should know that filing a civil lawsuit may be an option for your family. Taking legal action may allow your family to receive financial compensation as well as ensure your loved one is never harmed again. For more information and/or to be paired with an Atlanta nursing home abuse lawyer you can trust, get in touch with Bey & Associates today.