October 8, 2011

Abused Seniors Citizens Need More Safe Havens

by Levin & Perconti

The Chicago nursing home neglect lawyers at our firm have worked with victims of elder abuse enough to know that it remains a far too-common, but hidden problem across the country. This mistreatment and neglect occurs in a wide variety of settings. While there are a surprising number of systematically negligent nursing homes, examples of mistreatment can be found wherever seniors live. That includes in their own homes. The rampant abuse of vulnerable elderly community members and the feeling of hopelessness that many of them experience is leading many advocate to call for more safe places where the victimized can go to seek help.

A story this week in the Huffington Post highlighted the need for these spaces. One “Senior Safe House” reports that its ranks are growing as more and more elderly community members are in need of a safe place to go after facing abuse at home—previously they considered homelessness. For example, one resident of this facility was a 70-year old woman who spent her life helping others. For a long while she cared for her husband who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and became abusive. Once he passed away her daughter moved into her home because of the daughter’s financial problems. The woman’s daughter became increasingly aggressive with her mother—eventually threatening to put her in a home and gain legal power over her. Not knowing what to do, the woman took to the streets. Fortunately, she was able to find the Senior Safe House whose staff members are providing her with the day-to-day assistance that she needs to survive.

Many others are not so lucky. There remain only a handful of such places nationwide. Most seniors still have few places to turn if they find themselves in a situation where they are being abused or neglected. The Illinois nursing home neglect attorneys in our office would agree with the sentiment expressed by the story’s author about the unacceptable levels of senior abuse nationwide. The latest data from the National Institute of Justice found that a shocking 11 percent of individuals over the age of 60 have faces some form of abuse in the last year. That is a dismal statistic that should shock the conscience of all observers. The abuse can take many forms from physical violence and mental cruelty to senior financial exploitation. Financial neglect is a particularly common and underreported problem. A recently federal study found that, at a minimum, seniors lose $2.5 billion each year at the hands of those with ill-motives.

All efforts to improve the lives of victimized seniors are good efforts. The Chicago nursing home neglect lawyers at our firm will continue to advocate on behalf of all of those who do not receive the level of care to which we all should be entitled. It is appalling that so many people are not able to enjoy their golden years and instead spend their twilight in painful situations where every day is a struggle. This should not be tolerated. Please get in touch with our office if you know of abuse that injured or took the life of an area senior.

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