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How common is nursing home abuse?

For many people in New Mexico, the idea of abusing the elderly is unthinkable. Unfortunately, that does not change the fact that these offenses take place relatively often in the state. There are several factors, one of which being the preponderance of local retirement communities.

Another thing you might want to consider is that not all abuse is physical or mental. These reprehensible acts do occur, of course, but unethical nursing home staff members are also likely to take advantage of residents financially. This type of misconduct could take many forms, and you might not notice the subtle signs until it is too late.

The 2018 study by the U.S. Commission on Human Rights is a good place to look if you are wondering about the overall state of nursing care in New Mexico. The executive summary in the preface talks about potential reasons why elder abuse is so common, most of which will probably not surprise you:

  • Lack of affordable quality care
  • Weak regulation and lack of rule enforcement
  • Reluctance to report suspicious behavior

You might not be able to bring yourself to report an instance of abuse if you were not absolutely sure that it was actually unethical or illegal. However, that does not mean you should necessarily sit around and do nothing. Many different types of evidence could prove useful in a claim of nursing home abuse — an itemized journal of overly expensive goods and services corroborated by your bank withdrawals, for example.

Abusive companies often work diligently to conceal their illicit actions, and it would be up to you, your loved ones and your advisors to work just as hard to support your claims of wrongdoing. You should examine every action you intend to make on a case-by-case basis, so please do not think of this as legal advice. It is simply background educational material.

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