Who Is Targeted for Abuse in a Nursing Home?

While some people may think that all elderly residents are equally susceptible to nursing home abuse, they are wrong. Being older does not mean that you will tolerate or succumb to nursing home abuse. Many residents of nursing homes let their families know about deficiencies and take steps on their own to alleviate the problem if it starts. However, there is a segment of the nursing home population who are the most vulnerable.

Learning if their parents or other loved ones are being abused in a nursing care facility is helped by knowing if they fall into groups whom abusers target. The critical issue is that abusers do not want to be caught. This is easiest when dealing with residents suffering from dementia or who are severely disabled. Let’s take an in-depth look at nursing home abuse and how families can fight back.


Of the five million incidences of abuse that are reported in nursing homes nationwide, a great discrepancy occurs between the safety and level of care provided for residents. Studies show that those with cognitive problems such as dementia or more specifically Alzheimer’s are more likely to be abused as are women with disabilities. Additional information suggests that:

  • Approximately 50 percent of those with dementia are abused or significantly neglected.
  • Social isolation leads to a greater incidence of nursing home abuse.
  • Residents using an antipsychotic medication, which includes at least 30 percent of all patients in the nursing home, are abused.
  •  Patients who are overmedicated are more easily abused.
  • Women who have significant disabilities are often violently abused at a higher rate (33 percent) compared to those who are not disabled (21 percent). 
  • Residents whose medication is not distributed properly stand a higher risk of nursing home abuse.

Reporting Nursing Home Abuse

Not all cases of nursing home abuse are actually reported. This stands to reason when some of the residents are not in the physical or mental condition to do so. Studies show that only 20 percent of all abuse is reported. That means that out of every 14 cases of abuse only one is noted. Sometimes, reports are not made due to embarrassment or fear. However, a majority of cases that are not reported are due to unawareness. 

This is especially true when the abused individual is suffering from dementia. Individuals with this disease often forget recent events. Even if they did remember, a staff member may argue that it was their imagination, leaving them helpless. 

Not All Abuse Is Done By Staff 

While abuse from staff is the most common cause, others are also involved. Reports indicate that many abusers are those trusted by the resident. For instance, another resident or visitors are often involved. Abuse is not limited to physical acts. Emotional and financial abuse is also common. That is why residents should refrain from signing paperwork dealing with banking matters unless the resident initiated the withdrawal. 

Olinde Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers

If a family member is suffering from nursing home abuse, let our compassionate staff help you protect their rights. Every resident in a nursing home has the right to good care and a safe environment. Our legal staff at the Olinde Law Firm fight every day to ensure that these rights are protected. Call us at (800) 587-1889 to schedule a time where we can review your case and answer your questions. Our lawyers are adept at reporting abuse and successfully filing a lawsuit against the facility. You can also reach out to us online.