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What percentage of nursing homes see serious abuse?

As you're touring nursing homes with an elderly loved one, trying to pick the right home, you may start feeling like they all seem the same. They all put on a good front and make you think your loved one will be safe, healthy and happy. What are the statistical odds that abuse will occur?

According to one study, abuse takes place in roughly one out of every three nursing homes. The study looked at homes all over the country, and it was carried out by the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee.

That report, however, looked at data from the early 2000s. Have there been any changes over the years, or is that just the base level that you should expect?

A CBS News study from 2016 didn't look at the percentage of homes where abuse occurred, but the percentage of individuals that were abused -- perhaps a more telling statistic. It suggests a very high rate of abuse, saying that about 20 percent of all residents -- one out of five -- have been abused.

The study also determined that elder abuse impacted roughly 5 million people annually, and that was just in cases that were known. Experts have said that 23 unreported cases could occur for every single one that is reported. That suggests a soaring level of elder abuse that is hard to track.

As you can see, abuse of the elderly has always been an issue and remains one today. It's crucial both to find the right home for a loved one and to know what legal options exist if you suspect abuse. Elderly individuals with health challenges and memory issues may be at especially high risk since they may not fully understand when abuse is happening.

Source: ABC, "Elderly Abused at 1 in 3 Nursing Homes: Report," David Ruppe, accessed Jan. 27, 2017

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