Cases of elder abuse can have long-term and wide-reaching effects. Elders who are abused may have to deal with physical, emotional, and financial consequences for months or years after. The loved ones of victims may also be emotionally impacted. Thankfully, there are ways families can combat the effects of elder abuse and make nursing homes safer for all.
What Are the Long-term Effects of Elder and Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse can have a lot of negative consequences on older adults, their families, and the quality of care that facilities provide.
Seniors who have been abused can experience long-term or permanent complications such as physical disabilities and mental health problems. In turn, nursing home abuse can leave an older person’s family emotionally traumatized and financially devastated due to medical expenses stemming from the abuse.
Cases of elder abuse in nursing homes can also create highly toxic environments if left unchecked as abusers can repeatedly harm older adults.
Thankfully, there are ways elders and loved ones can pursue medical and legal action if elder abuse occurs. While it can’t undo the harm done, these actions may help reduce the long-term effects of elder abuse.
- Medical care can help patients manage physical injuries and/or mental health problems.
- Legal compensation can force the responsible nursing homes to pay for medical bills from the abuse.
No one deserves to suffer from elder abuse. If you or a loved one was harmed, get a free case review to start healing.
Effects of Elder Abuse on Victims
Elder abuse can be very harmful to seniors — even isolated incidents can cause serious health problems.
For example, elders who suffer from physical abuse can have long-term health problems afterward as their bodies may heal more slowly with age.
Elder abuse can also lead to serious emotional problems in older people, as the trauma can cause them to develop long-term health problems like anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Some residents may even experience emotional abuse while living in a nursing home.
“Survivors report higher rates of depression. They often withdraw from social interactions, and many blame themselves, which results in shame and silence and magnifies these effects. They also have higher rates of hospitalization and institutionalization, at an estimated annual cost to our nation’s healthcare system of $5.3 billion. They are three times more likely to die prematurely.”
— U.S. Administration for Community Living
Lastly, elder abuse can have a negative impact on an older person’s finances as they may have to pay for unexpected medical bills associated with it.
In some cases, an older person may even die from the abuse they suffer. In one horrific case of severe elder neglect, a resident of a group home burned to death after lighting a cigarette and falling asleep. A licensed caregiver failed to prevent the death. The victim’s family later received $1.75 million by working with an elder abuse lawyer.
Effects of Elder Abuse on the Family
The abuse of the elderly doesn’t just harm older people — it can also negatively impact the ones they love.
Family members may entrust other relatives, caregivers, or nursing homes to help vulnerable seniors. These families expect that the older person will be cared for properly. When abuse occurs, loved ones can feel sorrowful and guilty.
There’s also the financial effects of nursing home abuse. It can be very expensive if elders have to be hospitalized to recover from the harm done — and these costs may fall onto family members.
Finally, there’s the chance that a family member is responsible for harming an older adult. In these cases, it may be even harder for families emotionally knowing that one of their own committed abuse or neglect.
In one recent case, two women severely neglected their grandmother, whom they were supposed to be caring for. The grandmother died shortly after being rescued by an emergency team, who found her covered in feces and maggots. Her two grandchildren were arrested on counts of manslaughter.
The Effects of Elder Abuse on Nursing Homes
When elder abuse occurs in a nursing home, it sets a very negative precedent. Abusive staff members may harm multiple residents over weeks, months, or years before being caught.
Sadly, elder abuse in nursing homes can be a tricky problem to solve. Many cases of elder and nursing home abuse go unreported, meaning perpetrators could go on hurting residents for long spans of time.
Reports of nursing home abuse can also make family members wary about sending elders to live there — even if a facility may actually be able to help their loved one.
That said, when elder abuse in nursing homes comes to light, some good can come out of it. Cases of elder abuse can expose nursing homes that are not following proper protocol and lead to reforms.
For example, a nursing home staff member recently slapped a resident while another staff member looked on and failed to tell supervisors, according to a report from the Associated Press. It was later revealed that one of the workers didn’t even have clearance to work at the facility. Both workers were fired, and the facility itself faced fines.
Get Help For the Effects of Elder and Nursing Home Abuse
Elder and nursing home abuse can be devastating — but seniors and loved ones can take action to get help and manage or reduce their long-term effects.
Some steps to take include:
- Calling authorities like 911, Adult Protective Services (APS), or a nursing home ombudsman if elder abuse or neglect is suspected
- Contacting a nursing home abuse lawyer to discuss legal options
- Getting an older person to a safe space if abuse or neglect occurs
- Making sure any health problems (bedsores, cuts/scrapes, infections) are promptly treated
- Staying in regular contact with those living in a nursing home or who are getting at-home care from nurses or relatives
Our team can help you counteract the effects of elder abuse and pursue legal compensation. Start the process now with a free case review.