The core feature of the World Health Organization’s definition of elder abuse centers on harms to older adults where there is an “expectation of trust” held by the elderly person toward their abuser. Devastatingly, elder mistreatment is relatively common trend.
The National Center on Elder Abuse for the United States suggests that more than 30% of all nursing homes in America allow abuse to elderly residents to occur, and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid estimates that, despite governmental regulations, more than one million nursing-home residents are subject to elder abuse.
Though these statistics are heartbreaking, what’s worse is the fact that many more cases of nursing home negligence go unreported; experts for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid have said that for every one case of abuse reported, an additional five cases are unreported. Because many residents lack full cognitive functioning, it is nearly impossible for them to report any kind of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse.
Even more tragic is the fact that statistics show that 90% of elder abuse victims know their abuser. This may mean that friends and family are the ones taking advantage of the elderly, or doctors and nurses – the people to whom caring relatives eagerly place trust for the care of their loved ones – are abusing senior citizens.
This past Tuesday, the Chicago Tribune reported on a Chicago nursing home negligence lawsuit involving a 56 year-old male Certified Nursing assistant (CNA) who was charged with the criminal sexual assault of a 93 year-old patient at a Lexington nursing home facility in Orland Park.
The victim suffered from dementia, and was unable to consent to the sexual advances made by the CNA. Because the victim lacked the mental capacity to have protected herself from the assault, she is considered disabled in the eyes of the court, and as a result, the charge is more severe. Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault is a Class X felony, and the CNA may receive a sentence of six to 30 years in prison, if convicted.
Elder abuse affects not only the victim of this heartbreaking crime, but families and loved ones of the victims. Our Chicago nursing home negligence attorneys understand the grief and despair that accompanies a case of elder abuse. If you or a loved one have been the victim of nursing home negligence or any other form of elder mistreatment, an attorney may be able to help you determine your rights.