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Family members, not nursing homes, worst offenders of elder abuse

When you think of elder abuse, what comes to mind? For many people, the answer probably has to do with nursing home negligence or abuse. Unfortunately, many people assume that nursing home staff members often take advantage of or harm the residents who are under their care. A recent article in Healthline, however, reminds us that nursing homes are not the greatest threat to the elderly.

Some may be surprised to hear that family members are responsible for 90 percent of elder abuse cases, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse.

The reason that family members are the perpetrators in the majority of elder abuse cases has to do with the fact that elder abuse encompasses more than just physical abuse. It includes financial abuse as well.

Because many children are appointed the financial guardians of their parents, it is quite easy for them to use that control to their advantage -- pocketing money for their own use. In 2010, 1,000 elderly individuals in New York were questioned about financial abuse, and 41 said they had been a victim of such exploitation. Physical and emotional forms of abuse occurred at a lower rate.

Elder abuse is a serious problem in New York and the rest of the country, but it is important to remember that nursing homes are not always the ones to blame for maltreatment. In fact, nursing homes often provide a safe place for elderly individuals to reside if they have been taken advantage of by a family member.

Source: Healthline News, "U.S. Official: Elder Abuse Is 'Broad and Widespread'," David Heitz, Jan. 27, 2014

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