Oregon DOJ Reports Alarming Growth in Elder Abuse

As the elderly population increases, with the number of Americans over age 65 projected to double in the next three decades, cases of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation have significantly grown and are expected to increase in the next few years.

Appalling Statistics on Elder Abuse

Oregon’s Department of Justice said that approximately 2.1 million older Americans suffer from elder abuse annually. In the state of Oregon, there were more than 38,000 reports of elder abuse in 2014, and investigators believe that the actual numbers could be higher, given the lack of investigation and reporting that currently plague most nursing homes and elderly care facilities.

Liability of Nursing Home

Just recently, an 89-year-old woman and four other women filed a negligence lawsuit against a Portland senior rehabilitation center. The lawsuit alleged that the company failed to discipline or report an employee who was the subject of at least 6 complaints of sexually abusing elderly patients in the rehabilitation center. The employee eventually admitted to sexually abusing the 89-year old victim and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

The suit also alleged that the health center and its staff’s negligence in conducting a thorough investigation of the complaints and, further, providing the alleged perpetrator a good employment reference had allowed him to continue his abusive behavior in another center. The plaintiffs are seeking at least $1 million in damages against the rehabilitation facility for its negligence.

Types of Elder Abuse

Elder abuse is any form of abuse, neglect, or exploitation inflicted upon any adult who is at least 65 years old, or an adult with mental illness, developmental or physical disabilities regardless of age. Adult abuse can be:

  • Physical
  • Verbal or emotional
  • Sexual
  • Financial

There may also be elder abuse when a person charged with the care of an elder or disabled adult fails to provide basic care or abandons their ward. Other types of elder abuse include wrongful restraint and involuntary seclusion.

Elder abuse often leaves a devastating emotional impact on victims and their families. Reports of abuses of elderly victims in the hands of the very persons entrusted with their care are often heart-wrenching. Unless swift legal action is taken against the perpetrators and potentially their negligent employers, more severe injury may befall these vulnerable victims.

Representing Elder Abuse Victims in Oregon

If you suspect that a loved one has been the victim of elder abuse, it’s important to talk to an experienced personal injury attorney who can fight and obtain justice for your loved ones.

In Portland Oregon, the personal injury attorneys at Dwyer Williams Dretke PC offer compassionate and experienced representation to elder abuse victims throughout the State of Oregon. We routinely handle these types of claims, primarily through former judge and current partner Brian Dretke as well as Tim Williams. Call us today at (541) 617-0555 for a free initial consultation.