If pressed, most people would likely acknowledge that elder abuse is possible and that it happens in the United States, but how concerned would they really be? Much of the time, they act as if it is something rare and unfortunate, a thing that happens but not something that they really worry about all that much.

This could be a misguided outlook. Some experts claim that abuse is common and often overlooked. One yearlong study that was reported on in Forbes found that some caregivers were “abusive, financially exploitative, and neglectful of residents’ basic needs.”

Part of the problem, in this particular study, was that some of the homes they looked at were not properly licensed. This could be how some of this behavior flew under the radar. The homes are never supposed to operate under those conditions anyway and may not get the same level of oversight as homes that are properly established and licensed.

That said, this type of substandard care can also happen in legitimate homes. In some cases, the elderly are taken advantage of by caregivers who seek some type of financial gain for themselves. In other cases, workers exploit their vulnerable state by harming them physically or sexually. In still other cases, the residents do not get abused at all, but they still get neglected by staff members who just do not care about their well-being.

It is very difficult when something like this happens to a parent or a family member that you love deeply. When you find yourself in this type of situation, please know that you do have legal options, and there are steps your family can take to protect those you love.