Advocacy and increased awareness are the keys to changing hearts and minds on the issue of elder abuse and nursing home neglect. Virtually everyone agrees that mistreatment of seniors is intolerable. Yet, it still happens on daily basis. That is because real change only comes when more and more people put pressure on all those involved in the process to enact actual safety improvements. Good thoughts are not enough. We need action.
Speak Out Against Elder Abuse
With that goal in mind, we are happy to share that this month, October, is officially designated by the Consumer Voice as “Residents’ Rights Month.”
The month-long awareness event is a time to speak out on behalf of those those in different senior housing communities, from nursing homes and assisted living facilities to retirement communities. As the main website for the event summarizes, this month is a time for celebration and recognition offering an opportunity for every facility to focus on and celebrate awareness of dignity, respect and the value of each individual resident.”
The particular theme of this year’s annual event sends a clear message “Speak Out Against Elder Abuse.” As our neglect attorneys often point out, there are many more instances of elder abuse that actually occur than are ever brought to light. Many seniors suffer in silence because onlookers with suspicions stay silent. Doing nothing only guarantees that the mistreatment will continue. It is critical that friends, family members, and other advocates stand up and demand quality service 100% of the time.
Many different activities are sponsored by the Consumer Voice as part of Residents’ Rights Month. For example, a “Voice Challenge” contest is under way. Residents from across the country have submitted poems, stories, and other thoughts related to these issues–some including personal stories of mistreatment. There is something particularly powerful about hearing about the issues directly from the seniors affected. It is worth browsing the entries.
Other activities incorporated into the month-long celebration include small discussion groups where resident rights are discussed and scheduled speakers where advocates share important information with all those at a facility.
We encourage all advocates to use this month as a reminder to step up and speak out. You can browse a long list of Residents’ Right Month resources at the Consumer Voice website. One key component of the celebration includes taking the time to reflect on the federal Nursing Home Reform Law of 1987. As the Consumer Voice points out, that law makes very clear what rights individual seniors are entitled. Even though many facilities may shirk their responsibilities, that does not mean residents must sit in silence and take whatever care is provided to them, no matter how sub-standard. The law must be followed.
Please don’t turn your back on vulnerable seniors. If you suspect mistreatment, contact our neglect attorneys and see how we can help.
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