Epidemic of Abuse

Every day in the U.S. it is estimated that more than 10,000 people turn 65. That’s the official start of senior status in the U.S. And with that comes a growing push for programs to help older people stay at home and out of nursing homes and hospitals. A recent Time essay by Dr. Robert Glatter and Dr. Peter J. Papadakos discussed the growing epidemic of abuse in long term care facilities.

Increasing reports of horrific events that affect our aging population detailing prolonged suffering and premature death are now commonplace.

study by the Administration for Aging stated that hundreds of thousands of seniors were abused, neglected and exploited. The number of senior citizens is growing rapidly; individuals aged 65 and older increased from 39.6 million in 2009 to 54.1 million in 2019 (a 36% increase) and is projected to reach 94.7 million by 2060.

“Many families may believe that placement of loved ones into a senior living facility may be representative of a loving and supportive “safety net.” However, this industry is also in crisis. Over 3.2 million adults are currently living in nursing homes and other long term care facilities in the US. As many as one-third of all adults will enter a nursing at point during their lives as the US population ages. Sadly, nursing homes are not a safe haven: abuse is increasing due to understaffing, improper training and staff burn out. The industry was greatly affected by the pandemic with loss of beds, lost income, and loss experienced caregivers. These factors have led staff members to take out their anger on they people they should be caring for. A shocking report by the World Health Organization reported that 66% of nursing home staff members admitted to abusing individuals under their care.”