Nursing home abuse represents a growing behavioral epidemic across the United States. As many as one in three nursing homes, assisted living centers, and hospices are afflicted with periodic incidents of elder abuse, a United States average which happens to hold true for the state of Oregon specifically as well. Elderly victims are largely unable to fend for themselves against cases of abuse, and they are often in no condition to file any kind of allegation or to take perpetrators to court directly. Oftentimes, it is a member of a victim’s family – someone responsible for overseeing their well-being in the first place – who is ultimately found to be inflicting abuse; this may be true as often as half of the time when abuse is present.
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Statistics gathered by the US Department of Justice as recently as 2012 suggest that as many as 2 million elderly residents of nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other such specialized elder-care facilities suffer from some form of abuse each year. Other accounts are more dire still, persisting with the notion that as many as thirteen out of fourteen instances of actual elder abuse go unreported, while still more may pass unknown to any overseeing agency.
- Dementia: A patient with Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of dementia may be unable to recognize their own abuse, or the perpetrator. Patients who do not have dementia, but are in a poor state of health – often characterized by lapses in attention and profound periods of lethargy – are likewise vulnerable to being abused without later being able to recall who did it, or why. This kind of abuse can go on for years without being recognized.
- Elder Murder: Due to a variety of physical and mental health conditions which generally conspire towards poor health on the parts of those individuals living under assisted conditions, the elderly in those places where abuse is most common – nursing homes and assisted living centers – are particularly vulnerable to extremes of abuse. All too often, the prolonged effects prove to be fatal.
In addition to physical elder abuse, financial elder abuse is a growing problem in Oregon – and elsewhere across the United States. Many elderly residents of specialized care centers have substantial estates which are left largely unattended, or else are in the care of family members or friends with power of attorney. It isn’t only those with power of attorney who are too often guilty of taking advantage of an elderly patient, however: any con artist with access to an elderly patient could all too easily gain access to said individuals personal and financial information – with the victim remaining, as often as not, completely unaware that anything has happened.
If you or someone you love has been the victim of elder abuse, give the law offices of Dwyer Williams Cherkoss a call today, or stop on by for a free consultation. Our experienced team of elder law attorneys has over 75 years of combined experience fighting for clients’ rights during their hour of need. We cover a wide variety of cases in Bend and throughout Central Oregon. Don’t let such a deplorable act as the physical or financial abuse of the elderly go without confrontation. Call or stop by our Bend, OR offices today for a free consultation.
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