Records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that there are about 1.4 million residents living in about 15,700 registered nursing home facilities all across the U.S. Residents include: elders, usually 65 years old; individuals who, because of an illness (such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s), require extra care and assistance; and, those needing rehabilitation therapies.
Thousands of nursing homes, however, do not have the needed number or personnel that would enable these to provide quality care. Thus, instead of genuine care and physical/emotional comfort, many residents rather, suffer physical, emotional, sexual (and even financial) abuses from aides and staff who complain of being over-worked and stressed-out.
Among the types of abuses suffered by nursing home residents, sexual abuse is the most wicked and most humiliating; however, due to shame, threats and difficulty on the part of the abused in explaining his/her unpleasant experience (for fear of being suspected of simply suffering from dementia), this abuse becomes the least reported, besides being very hard to detect.
Fondling, forced nudity, display of pornographic materials, forcing another resident to touch or kiss the victim and forced penetrative acts often accompany this type of abuse. Often, the defense mechanism of sexual victims, to make it appear, as well as convince themselves, that nothing is really happening is by warding-off any thoughts about the abuse and casting an appearance of calmness and composure. There is a way of detecting sexual abuse, though, such as by being observant of a loved one’s disposition during each visit. It is common for sexually abused residents to have a sudden change in their attitude or behavior, to be over-sensitive to touch, to have unexplained scars, and to display fear.
Nursing homes are meant to be a relaxing resort-style living for the elderly to pass their days. However, many nursing homes prey on the handicaps of the elderly. This abuse can take many shapes and forms and causes serious harm to the elderly. Perhaps the most devastating consequence of the abuse is the psychological harm that is inflicted onto the victim. Only time can heal the mental damage that prolonged abuse causes, and some elderly people may not have the time necessary to fully recover.
Nursing home abuse is a crime and many states charge abusers with felony if proven guilty. Trusting anybody with loved ones is a difficult thing, but when this trust is betrayed and people are hurt, justice needs to be served.