Yesterday we discussed the effect of the “Graying of America”-the aging of the nation’s population as the Baby Boomer generation begins to retire. Of course one of the obvious effects of this is that many more seniors will require day-to-day living assistance. Our Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys are concerned that there is currently a lack of quality caregiving options for this group. The coming pressures may make elder neglect and abuse a more common occurrence. This cannot be tolerated.
An article late this week in KFOX News made the same point, noting a perfect storm for abuse may be brewing with the financial pressures facing so many community members on top of the demographic pressures adding more seniors to the pool of those needing aid. The story noted that not only is there a steadily growing number of seniors, but those seniors are also living longer thanks to important improvements in medicine. All of these factors combine to create a truly volatile situation, which, if not closely monitored, may very well result in a rash of elder abuse.
Unfortunately, we may already have reached the point where elder mistreatment is growing. Our nursing home abuse lawyers know that it is important to reiterate that abuse of this community comes in many forms-it means much more than being physically harmed by another. For example, perhaps the most common form of mistreatment is basic medical neglect. Obviously receiving proper medication, responses to health concerns, and basic aid to help with ailments is a basic component of proper elder caregiving. Many caregivers already fall short of that mark.
The story explains that money is usually at the root of the problem. At the nursing home, many facilities are working to increase profits as much as possible. As a result, they often cut staff levels to the point where it is impossible for caregivers to properly attend to the needs of all those who rely on them. The money problem can also affect those who are not in a long-term care facility. Most seniors survive on fixed incomes-some as low as $700 a month. This presents real problems for those who are in need of oftentimes expensive medical help or medication. For many seniors with an inability to pay, this means that caregivers might simply refuse to provide them with the medication or medical aid that they need.
Beyond medical neglect, other elderly community members face mental, sexual, emotional, and financial mistreatment. It might be hard for those not familiar with these circumstances to understand the extreme power that certain caregivers have over many seniors. One local sheriff familiar with the problems of elder abuse in his community shared what he has observed. For example he explained, “The family members and the caretakers or even friends will scream at the client, using terms such as, ‘I won’t let you see your grandkids. I’ll get you back. When I was younger you mistreated me, now I’m going to mistreat you.'”
No senior should ever have to live their golden years in these conditions. We urge all local advocates to keep a close eye out for any signs of this mistreatment in their neck of the woods.
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