Gender May Put Elderly Men in Massachusetts at Risk for Abuse

Many elderly men in failing health are finding it difficult to get the care that they need – not for lack of health care facilities, but because there are not enough beds for men. Since the elderly female population is so much larger, two-thirds of patients in nursing homes are women. This, coupled with the fact that Medicaid will only pay for semiprivate rooms, makes it difficult for health care facilities to accommodate men since male and female patients cannot be roommates – and rooms already occupied by men are hard to come by.

As a result, families may be forced to place their elderly male loved ones in facilities that are less than ideal – including many that may have substandard patient care. And this can put male patients at risk for elder abuse and nursing home neglect.

What Is Elder Abuse?

Elder abuse occurs when the people who are supposed to care for senior citizens intentionally inflict harm on them, or neglect them. This abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional or financial, and can often be caused by health care facility employees. In the case of nursing homes, some signs of abuse include:

  • Sudden weight loss, malnutrition or dehydration
  • Bedsores or other untreated infections
  • Unexplained bruises, cuts or broken bones
  • Bruises or marks on wrists or ankles
  • Unsanitary living conditions or soiled bedding

Elder Abuse on the Rise in Massachusetts

According to state social workers, there has been a 31 percent increase in the number of reported elder abuse cases in Massachusetts since 2008 – for both male and female together. In 2010 alone, there were 20,000 cases of elder abuse reported.

And, many more cases of elder abuse go unreported. A study conducted by Weill Cornell Medical College shows that for every case of elder abuse that is reported, there are about 24 cases that don’t get reported – oftentimes because the victim is dependent on the abuser in some way.

If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of nursing home neglect or abuse, contact an experienced attorney in your area today to be advised of your rights and options.