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Pervasiveness of Elder Abuse

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The pervasiveness of elder abuse is shocking and staggering. By some estimates, between 1 and 2 million Americans age 65 or older have been injured, exploited, or mistreated by someone whom they rely on for care. As many as 2 percent to 10 percent of elderly Americans have experienced elder abuse, but only a fraction of the cases of elder abuse actually come to the attention of the appropriate authorities.

According to the Administration on Aging of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, elder abuse is "any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult." Elder abuse can occur at the hands of any caregiver, including family members, but it often occurs in nursing homes which can be overcrowded, understaffed and underfunded.  As a result, the most common form of nursing home abuse is neglect.

It is important to be vigilant about protecting yourself and loved ones from elder abuse and nursing home neglect. Before choosing a nursing home facility, you should consider whether the facility has adequate safety measures in place (smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and clearly marked stairways and exits), has an appropriate staff-to-patient ratio, a staff that promptly responds and communicates with residents and their families, and has safe and accessible bathing and dining facilities. Be on the lookout for signs of elder abuse and neglect, such as unkempt and dirty appearances, falls and fractures, lack of assistance with eating, drinking and bathing, and the presence of bedsores.  It is also important to watch for possible financial exploitation.

If you or someone you love is a victim of elder or nursing home abuse, you should contact the Senior HelpLine (800) 252-8966 immediately.  To file a complaint against a nursing home facility, call the Illinois Department of Public Health at (800) 252-4343.

It is important to hold those responsible for elder abuse responsible for their actions. At Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish, our Chicago elder abuse attorneys strive to protect the victims of elder abuse by getting you the monetary compensation you need to provide the proper medical care and attention and to guarantee a behavior change within the nursing home organization. Contact us at (888) 325-7299 if you suspect elder or nursing home abuse, including medical malpractice.

Steinberg Goodman & Kalish  ( is dedicated to protecting victims and their families.  We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (800) 784-0150 or (312) 782-1386.

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