Despite the known sustained effects of abuse on physical and mental health, and the number of occurrences of elder abuse in the U.S. being estimated to be a startling one in 10 elders, the formal diagnoses of elder abuse are exceptionally rare; physicians tend to find and diagnose such cases at a rate of about 1 in every 7,700 visits.

Many people credit this to the fact that many of these same folks tend to not have steady, regular physicians and tend to visit emergency services instead when there is a problem. Timothy Platts-Mills, MD, discusses these implications in the study that revealed these numbers, saying that detecting abuse in an elderly patient, especially an irregular patient, can be difficult due to the fragility of elderly people as well as stubbornness and memory failure.

Platts-Mills, MD, is an assistant professor of emergency medicine and the co-director of the division of geriatric emergency medicine at the UNC School of Medicine. He is also the lead author of the study. His and his team’s goal is to expose the true rates of elder abuse and work toward better detection by developing specialized screening and questionnaires.

Many people experience shock and then rage when coming to find their elderly loved one faced abuse at the hands of people they trust or even other family members. If you find yourself being abused or your loved ones have been, contact an attorney at Peck Ritchey, LLC right away by calling (855) 328-5787.