As the population ages, the number of seniors in nursing homes continues to rise. Unfortunately, sexual abuse has become a prominent issue in nursing homes today, posing a threat to many vulnerable elderly individuals. According to the Nursing Home Abuse Guide, the primary caregiver is often the abuser in the majority of reported cases, further exacerbating the problem. Shockingly, only 30% of elder sexual abuse victims report the abuse to authorities, which highlights the urgent need for action.

It is alarming to consider that the very individuals whom elderly residents should trust the most are the ones perpetrating these horrific acts. Moreover, statistics reveal that elderly women are especially vulnerable, being six times more likely to experience sexual abuse. Nursing homes must address this pressing concern promptly and effectively.


What are examples of elder sexual abuse?


Any non-consensual contact that is sexual in nature may be sexual abuse. This includes acts that engage seniors who have dementia or are otherwise incapable of understanding the risks or giving consent. Among the most common methods of sexual abuse in nursing homes are:

  • Unwanted touching
  • Sexually explicit verbal harassment
  • Explicit photography
  • Exhibitionism
  • Rape
  • Coerced nudity


What are the signs of sexual abuse at a nursing home?


If your senior loved one is suffering from sexual abuse in her nursing home, you may see signs including:

  • Unexplained bruising, especially around the breasts or genitals
  • Unusual vaginal or anal bleeding
  • Diagnosis of previously unknown sexually transmitted diseases
  • Torn or stained underwear or sheets
  • Reports from the senior or other residents of inappropriate sexual behaviors

It is important to note that there are a wide range of signs of abuse, and some types of sexual mistreatment leave no physical symptoms. If your loved one begins to withdraw socially, seems agitated, or has other unexplained emotional changes, discuss the possibility of abuse with a trusted healthcare provider.


What do I do if I suspect elder sexual abuse at the nursing home?


If you suspect abuse or mistreatment at a nursing home, call 911 or contact the local police immediately. Taking immediate action can protect your loved one and other residents from sexual predators who prey on vulnerable seniors.

If your loved one was a victim, you may want to take additional action, such as seeking medical treatment and considering a transfer to another facility.


Do I need to enlist the help of an attorney?


When a vulnerable senior becomes the victim of a sexual predator – or any nursing home abuse – she deserves to have strong advocates who will ensure she receives compensation to cover the damage done and to see that her abuser is not able to hurt others. The elder abuse attorneys at Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault work with seniors and their families to stop nursing home abuse in Ohio and southeast Michigan.

We can help protect your loved one from abusive caregivers and recover damages for her medical care and pain and suffering. Contact us today at 419-843-6663 to schedule an appointment.