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Why Women May be at Higher Risk for Suffering Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

semi-circle of elderly women at physical therapyWhile nursing home abuse and neglect are problems for male and female nursing home residents, research shows women may be at higher risk for a few reasons.

If you have a female or male loved one who is living in a nursing home or assisted living facility and you are concerned that he or she may have been mistreated, contact Schmidt Kramer for a free consultation. Our firm helps nursing home abuse victims and their families pursue compensation and hold abusers accountable.

There are no upfront fees or obligations, and our Harrisburg nursing home abuse attorneys are not paid unless you receive compensation.

Risk Factors for Elderly Women

One of the main reasons why female nursing home residents may be more likely to suffer abuse is simply because they often live longer than men. The life expectancy of women who turned 65 in 2016 is 86.6 years, while the life expectancy for men is 84.3. The longer someone lives, the more likely he or she is to need care at a nursing home or other assisted living facility.

In fact, data from the U.S. Department of Health from 2013 and 2014 said 66.8 percent of nursing home residents were women.

The longer people live, the more likely they are to have severe health problems. According to data collected by the national Association of Nursing Home Attorneys, women living at institutions who have disabilities reported more interpersonal violence than women without disabilities.  

Another reason that women may be at higher risk for abuse at a nursing home is they are often seen to be easy targets. This may be particularly true if the abuser is a man, as men are typically physically stronger than women.

Women often fail to report abuse, which may make it more likely to occur. Some of the reasons why victims do not report abuse include:

  • Fear of retaliation or a worsening relationship with the abuser
  • Fear of not being believed, which is a common fear for sexual abuse/assault victims
  • Being unsure of how to report abuse
  • Not trusting law enforcement to act in their best interests
  • Being estranged from family members

What Types of Abuse do Women Suffer?

Elderly women are at risk for many types of abuse, just as elderly men are. However, women are more prone to sexual abuse than men. According to a study in the Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect, elderly women were six times as likely to be sexually abused compared to men.

Physical abuse can be particularly devastating for women because they often suffer from conditions like osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease, which means it takes longer to recover from physical injuries. People who abuse the elderly often think there will be little if any consequences for abusing someone with a disability.

Like male nursing home residents, female nursing home residents may also suffer because of neglect, which is often a result of understaffing. Unfortunately, many facilities look to save money by employer fewer staff members. This increases the odds of residents being neglected and suffering serious or even life-threatening injuries.

Preventing and Responding to Elder Abuse

There are steps you can take to try to protect your elderly loved one from abuse. It is often family members outside the facility who report abuse and discover it in the first place. That is why it is so important to stay in contact with your loved one and look for signs of abuse. Your loved one may be afraid to say anything or may not know something is wrong because of mental health issues.

Educate yourself on the signs of abuse, such as physical injuries, depression, mood swings or fear around certain nursing home staff members.

If you notice something out of the ordinary, asked your loved one and report it to the facility.  

Call Today to Schedule Your Free Legal Consultation

There are many important decisions that need to be made after discovering a loved one was abused or neglected at a nursing home. One of those decisions is your choice of an attorney to represent you and your family.

Schmidt Kramer has been helping injury victims in Pennsylvania for more than three decades. We have obtained tens of millions of dollars in compensation on behalf of our clients.

Learn more by scheduling a free consultation. Call (717) 888-8888.