NEW YORK – More seniors are sharing homes than ever before. It’s estimated that 1.5 million people are now living in nursing homes and in many cases, sharing rooms with other adults with severe mental illnesses, including dementia.
Published in the Journal of Applied Gerontology, a new study found that residents suffering from dementia or other mental illnesses were more likely to be abusive; not just to staff but toward other residents as well.
“Resident aggression and abuse in assisted living facilities is prevalent and warrants greater attention from policy makers, researchers and long-term care providers,” the researchers said.
A New York nursing home abuse attorney at Cellino & Barnes says almost every bed in America is now full – and due to the demand for care, nursing home are no longer exclusive to older adults.
“Younger generations between the ages of 31 and 64 now make up more than 14 percent of the nursing home population in New York,” nursing home abuse lawyer Steve Barnes said. “Many of these people are suffering from mental illnesses and they can be aggressive at times – but we get concerned when nursing homes ignore that aggression.”
The study, published last month, compiled data from federal surveys in which nursing home staff members were asked about aggressive behaviors, which can include physical, verbal and sexual abuse.
Researchers concluded that roughly 8 percent of residents had engaged in physical altercations or abuse toward other residents or staff in just the last month. Verbal abuse was slightly more prevalent at 9 percent.
Of the residents identified to be ‘aggressive,’ those with dementia were five times more likely to abuse others and those with a severe mental illness were three times more likely to be involved in a verbal or physical altercation.
Researchers also noted that their estimates could even be low because some resident aggression could have occurred without the staff members’ knowledge.
“Many nursing homes have identified residents and staff members that are prone to aggression but facility managers do little to prevent future incidents,” Barnes said. “Moving a loved one to a nursing home is a difficult decision and while there are some amazing facilities in New York, others could be a nightmare and that’s why we created Parent Care.”
Parent Care is an app created by Cellino & Barnes to help families make the best decision when choosing a nursing home for their loved ones. The app allows users to locate all of the nursing homes in their area and provides ratings for each facility, as determined by federal inspectors.