Two 18-year-old certified nursing assistants at a nursing home located in Illinois have been charged with battery for an alleged incident that occurred on March 11, 2014, at which time it is charged that the two aides struck a 96-year-old resident who suffered from dementia, laughing as they recorded the physical abuse.
The two have been fired from their jobs that they held for six months. They were both charged with one count of aggravated battery of a person older than 60 (a class 3 felony) as well as one count of illegally videotaping the incident. Both had bond set at $15,000 during their court appearance on March 14, 2014. Their next court appearance is scheduled for March 27, 2014.
The pair shared their videotaped elder abuse with friends, according to reports. The nursing home became aware of the violent incident when someone reported the occurrence.
The National Center on Elder Abuse reports that participants in recent major studies of the incidence and prevalence of elder abuse and neglect reported that 7.6% – 10% of them experienced abuse in the prior year with an incidence of 1 in 10 adults experiencing abuse that did not include financial abuse. Data from state Adult Protective Services agencies show an increasing trend in the reporting of elder abuse, with an overwhelming number of cases of abuse, neglect, and exploitation going undetected and untreated each year.
One study estimated that only 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse ever comes to the attention of authorities: the New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study found that for every case known to programs and agencies, 24 were unknown. Major financial exploitation was self-reported at a rate of 41 per 1,000 surveyed, which was higher than self-reported rates of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse or neglect.
Elders who experienced abuse, even modest abuse, have a 300% higher risk of death when compared to those who have not been abused. The direct medical costs associated with violent injuries to older adults are estimated to add over $5.3 billion to the U.S.’s annual health expenditures, and the annual financial loss by victims of elder financial exploitation were estimated to be $2.9 billion in 2009 (an increase of 12% from 2008).
The vast majority of abusers were family members (approximately 90%), most often adult children, spouses, partners, and others. Family members who abuse drugs or alcohol, who have a mental/emotional illness, and who feel burdened by their caregiving responsibilities abuse at higher rates than those who do not.
People with dementia are at greater risk of elder abuse than those without (approximately 5.1 million American elders over 65 have some form of dementia). Nearly half of all people over 85, the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population, have Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. One study from 2009 found that nearly 50% of people with dementia experience some kind of abuse. A 2010 study found that 47% of participants with dementia had been mistreated by their caregivers.
In 2008, 3.2 million Americans resided in nursing homes (in 2009, over 900,000 people nationwide lived in assisted living settings). With regard to abuse in long term care facilities, a study from 2000 in which 2,000 nursing home residents were interviewed found that 44% of them said they had been abused and 95% said they had been neglected or seen another resident neglected. A May 2008 study by the U.S. General Accountability Office found that 70% of state surveys miss at least one deficiency and 15% of surveys miss actual harm and immediate jeopardy of a nursing home resident.
If you or a loved one were abused, neglected, injured, or otherwise harmed in a nursing home, in an assisted living facility, or in some other long-term care setting, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and harms.
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