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Nursing home abuse statistics can help shed light on how prevalent this issue is. Every year, far too many people suffer from abuse, neglect, and mistreatment in facilities that are supposed to protect them. Read on to learn about nursing home and elder abuse statistics in U.S. nursing homes and how to keep your loved one safe.

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Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Statistics Explained

Abuse in nursing homes is more common than people may be aware of. According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), as many as 5 million older Americans experience abuse every year, many of them residing in nursing facilities.

Nursing home abuse and neglect can have devastating emotional and physical effects on older adults. Victims often become anxious or fearful and may stop trusting others.

They may also suffer serious physical injuries that turn into long-term disabilities. Examples include bedsores leading to infections, constant physical pain, head injuries, and broken bones.

Other signs of nursing home abuse and neglect include:

  • Anxiety, confusion, and depression
  • Malnutrition leading to weight loss
  • Poor hygiene
  • Unexplained loss of money or transactions
  • Withdrawal from friends and family members

The team at Nursing Home Abuse Center is committed to helping protect residents by providing nursing home abuse statistics and working to hold facilities responsible.

View common elder abuse statistics in nursing homes below and get a free consultation if you or a loved one was harmed — you may qualify for financial aid from a nursing home abuse lawsuit.

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Get a free legal case review if you or a loved one has suffered abuse or neglect.

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Statistics on Residents at Risk of Nursing Home Abuse

Anyone living in long-term care or other facilities may be the victim of nursing home abuse. However, some people are more at risk than others.

Residents could run a higher risk of abuse depending on their:

  • Gender: Female residents are more likely to be abused than males. According to a national survey, over 64% of elder abuse victims are women.
  • Past trauma: People who experienced traumatic events or were abused in the past are more likely to experience abuse.
  • Poor mental and physical health: Residents with physical or cognitive impairments are more likely to be abused. Residents with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia are especially vulnerable.
  • Socioeconomic status: There is a connection between abuse and lower socioeconomic status. For instance, people who rely on Medicaid to pay for nursing home care may stay at lower-quality facilities with higher rates of neglect and abuse.

Statistics on Types of Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home residents can suffer from several different types of abuse. Find common nursing home abuse statistics for each type below.

Emotional Nursing Home Abuse Statistics

Emotional abuse happens when residents are threatened, verbally insulted or harassed, socially isolated, or intimidated.

According to a survey of 577 nurses and nursing aides in long-term care facilities, 81% of the staff said they had seen emotional elder abuse take place. Further, 40% had committed at least one incident of emotional abuse over a 12-month period.

The same report revealed that 70% of staff members saw co-workers yelling at residents, and 50% of staff noticed their fellow workers insulting residents.

Physical Nursing Home Abuse Statistics

Physical nursing home abuse happens when someone harms a resident by slapping, punching, or shoving them. It can lead to long-term health issues like broken bones, concussions, and even death.

In a survey of 452 family members of nursing home residents, 24.3% reported at least one incident of physical nursing home abuse.

Physical elder abuse also appears to be on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 600,000 older adults were treated in the emergency department for nonfatal assaults from 2002 to 2016. More than 19,000 homicides of older adults were also reported.

Do you believe your loved one suffered nursing home abuse? Call (855) 264-6310 to get help.

Financial Nursing Home Abuse Statistics

Financial abuse happens when someone exploits or withholds a nursing home resident’s financial resources.

According to the 2021 Report to the Nation by the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), older adults are especially vulnerable to financial fraud. The report revealed that fraud and financial abuse were among the crimes most commonly linked to elder neglect and abuse in 2019 and 2020.

Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes Statistics

Nursing home sexual abuse is any unwanted sexual contact from another person.

Signs of sexual abuse may include:

  • Increased difficulty sitting or walking
  • Torn or bloody clothing
  • Unexplained infections and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding

In a 2020 World Health Organization (WHO) study, sexual abuse was the least commonly reported kind of abuse. Just 1.9% of residents reported sexual nursing home abuse. Staff reports of sexual abuse were at 0.9%.

Sexual battery and other forms of nursing home abuse are never acceptable. Our team can pursue justice and financial payouts if you or a loved one experienced nursing home abuse or neglect. Get started with a free consultation.

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Get a free legal case review if you or a loved one has suffered abuse or neglect.

Get a Free Case Reviewor call (855) 264-6310

Nursing Home Neglect Statistics

Nursing home neglect occurs when staff members fail to adequately care for residents. Examples include not quickly addressing bedsores, failing to change bedding or adult diapers regularly, and not feeding, bathing, or dressing residents.

Bedridden and severely ill residents are at high risk of nursing home neglect, especially if they live in low-quality or understaffed homes.

The WHO reports that 12% of nursing home staff admitted to neglecting residents. Further, roughly 12% of residents said they suffered neglect in the same study.

Nursing Home Abuse Statistics on Causes and Risk Factors

Several underlying factors can increase the risk of abuse in nursing homes. Many of these factors are linked to problems with the staff. If these issues aren’t addressed, they can cause nursing home abuse.

The main causes and risk factors for nursing home abuse include:

  • Greed: In cases of financial abuse, staff members and others may try to take seniors’ financial assets by getting close to residents, stealing their credit cards, and forging checks.
  • Lack of competitive pay: Nursing home inspectors and staff may not earn competitive salaries in some states, which can lead to understaffing problems.
  • Lack of training: Some nurses may not have adequate training to care for residents with complex needs like dementia. Several studies revealed that nurses with fewer qualifications and professional training are more likely to harm residents.
  • Understaffing: Nursing homes are often understaffed due to cutting costs or a lack of qualified candidates. Understaffing was especially severe during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022, nearly 30% of nursing homes reported being understaffed at least once since the pandemic began, according to Kaiser Health News.

Nursing Home Abuse Statistics: Effects of Abuse

Nursing home abuse can have physically, emotionally, and financially devastating effects on residents and families.

Nursing home abuse statistics related to these effects include:

  • Abuse may cause physical health problems, psychological issues like depression, and disabilities.
  • Abused residents are 3 times more likely to be hospitalized.
  • Victims of elder abuse are 300% more likely to die than non-victims.

Nursing home abuse and elder mistreatment also have significant economic consequences. According to the NCOA, the annual loss by older Americans who were victims of financial abuse is at least $36.5 billion.

Fortunately, you can hold nursing homes accountable if your loved one suffered. Contact our team now to pursue justice.

Nursing Home Abuse Statistics: Who Commits Abuse?

Anyone can commit nursing home or elder abuse.

However, the most common abusers include:

  • Family members: Loved ones or family are behind over 50% of all elder neglect and abuse cases, according to the NCOA. Two-thirds of these abusers are adult children or spouses. Substance use disorders and mental health issues may increase the risk of family committing abuse.
  • Nursing home staff members: Exhausted, frustrated, or manipulative staff members may harm residents they care for. According to a 2020 WHO study, more than 66% of nursing home staff members reported committing some type of neglect or abuse.
  • Other nursing home residents: Mentally impaired or aggressive residents can cause harm without proper supervision. For example, a registered sex offender living in a nursing home sexually abused a female resident with dementia in 2021. The nursing home was also responsible as it didn’t call the police until the female resident had been abused three separate times.

Nursing Home Abuse Settlement Statistics

Victims of nursing home abuse and neglect can pursue legal settlements to get compensation and justice for the harm done. According to a Health Affairs study, the average nursing home abuse settlement is $406,000.

However, settlement amounts vary depending on:

  • Consequences of the abuse
  • If the victim passed away or is still living
  • The severity of the abuse
  • Whether there was medical malpractice involved

In some cases, nursing home abuse and neglect victims and their families have received $1 million or more.

Statistics on Reporting Nursing Home Abuse

Many cases of elder abuse don’t get reported. The NCOA noted that just 1 in 24 cases get reported. When it comes to reporting nursing home abuse, part of the problem is a lack of proper inspections.

A May 2023 congressional investigation from the U.S. Senate Committee on Aging found that most states have nursing home inspection backlogs due to stalled federal funding. This has resulted in fewer inspections.

Further, the report noted that 31 states and the District of Columbia had inspection staff vacancy rates above 20% on average. The highest rates were Kentucky at 83%, Alabama at 80%, and Idaho at 71%.

Get Help for Nursing Home Abuse

Reporting nursing home abuse can be challenging, especially if the victim has cognitive impairments such as Alzheimer’s. However, it’s crucial to do so — nursing home abuse statistics reveal that most cases don’t get reported, meaning far too many suffer in silence.

Our team seeks to restore dignity for anyone harmed by nursing home abuse or neglect. To that end, we can help you report cases of nursing home abuse to top attorneys, who can then pursue compensation on your behalf.

Get a free legal case review now — by doing so, you take the first steps to get justice after suffering from nursing home abuse.

FAQs on Abuse in Nursing Homes Statistics

What is the most common abuse in nursing homes?

Emotional mistreatment is the most common form of nursing home abuse. Up to 81% of staff reported that other co-workers had emotionally harmed residents, according to recent elderly abuse in nursing homes statistics.

What are the statistics regarding elder abuse in nursing homes in the United States?

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), approximately 1 in 10 nursing home residents in the United States experiences some form of abuse.

Common types of abuse in nursing homes include physical abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, and sexual abuse.

It’s important to remember that abuse in nursing homes is often underreported due to factors such as fear, shame, or the residents’ cognitive impairments.

As a result, the actual rates of abuse in these facilities may be higher than the reported statistics.

Who is the most common victim of elder abuse?

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) notes that women are the most common victims of elder abuse.

That said, any older adult can be abused.

Other elder abuse in nursing homes statistics reveal that those who need help with the basic tasks of daily life (like dressing or bathing), those with cognitive impairments like Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, and those whose families don’t live close by could all be abused more easily.

Nursing Home Abuse Support Team
Julie Rivers HeadshotReviewed by:Julie Rivers, MBA

Eldercare Advocate & Expert

  • Fact-Checked
  • Editor

Julie Rivers is an eldercare advocate with over 15 years of dedicated service to victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. Her journey in this field became deeply personal when she assumed the role of an unpaid caregiver during her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

The Nursing Home Abuse Center (NHAC) was founded to bring justice to those affected by nursing home and elder abuse. Our mission is to educate and empower victims of abuse and their families to take a stand against this unlawful mistreatment. We work to return dignity back to those who have been broken down by nursing home abuse and neglect.

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  2. Health Affairs. (2003). The Rise Of Nursing Home Litigation: Findings From A National Survey Of Attorneys. Retrieved July 19, 2023 from
  3. Ochieng, N., et al. (2022, April 4). Nursing Facility Staffing Shortages During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Retrieved August 4, 2023, from
  4. National Council on Aging. (2021, February 23). Get the Facts on Elder Abuse. Retrieved July 19, 2023, from
  5. National Institute on Aging. (2023, July 21). Elder Abuse. Retrieved August 4, 2023, from
  6. National Library of Medicine: PubMed Central (2020, July 23). MDPI Healthcare. Factors Affecting Mistreatment of the Elderly in Long-Term Care Facilities. Retrieved July 19, 2023, from
  7. National Library of Medicine. (2022, July 22). JAMA Health Forum. Staffing Patterns in US Nursing Homes During COVID-19 Outbreaks. Retrieved July 19, 2023, from
  8. National Library of Medicine. (2012). Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect. Physical abuse of older adults in nursing homes: a random sample survey of adults with an elderly family member in a nursing home. Retrieved July 19, 2023, from
  9. Office for Victims of Crime. (2021). 2021 Report to the Nation: Fiscal Years 2019 – 2020. Retrieved July 19, 2023 from
  10. (2021, February 19). CNY nursing home didn’t call cops after sex offender abused resident 3 separate times. Retrieved July 19, 2023, from
  11. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2021, March). Elder Abuse and Women’s Health. Retrieved July 19, 2023, from
  12. USA Today. (2023, May 18). Where are the inspectors? How a lack of nursing home oversight is endangering residents. Retrieved July 19, 2023, from
  13. World Health Organization. (2022, June 13). Abuse of older people. Retrieved July 19, 2023, from