According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, 44% of nursing home residents claim they have been abused at a nursing home. This statistic may actually not represent the full extent of abuse suffered by residents, as verbal abuse often goes unreported. People often feel ashamed or embarrassed to discuss verbal abuse.

In 2013, the New York Times published an article referencing a study indicating verbal abuse was a common complaint that went unreported. Such complaints included being yelled at, profanity being used against them, and threats. The article cited experts who claimed that verbal insults, threats, and humiliation are often overlooked compared with physical harm or financial exploitation.

Verbal abuse in nursing homes and residential care facilities probably goes unreported as caregivers will not document their own abuse, and residents’ fear of retaliation discourages them from reporting such. When visiting family members at these facilities it is important to pay attention to how caregivers are speaking to residents to ensure they are being treated with respect and dignity.

The article pointed out that facilities need to do a better job of offering support to caregivers to prevent frustration and verbal abuses of residents. Such treatment could help reduce incidents of verbal abuse. Unfortunately, rarely, if ever, are such support systems implemented at the facilities to help caregivers cope with the daily stresses of their jobs.

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