Believe it or not, we are already nearing the halfway mark for the month of October. Children are planning their Halloween costumes, pumpkin patch visits are popular weekend activities, and warm apple cider is being consumed by the gallon.
As always, however, October is also a month to take some time to help raise awareness of the need for proper treatment of our seniors. As we noted earlier, October is officially known as Residents’ Right Month. The theme of the event this year is all focused on breaking the silence that surrounds so much mistreatment of seniors: “Speak Out Against Elder Abuse.”
Elder Abuse: The Facts
One important part of the month-long advocacy effort is the sharing of basic information about elder abuse. It is a worldwide problem. As a helpful fact sheet created by the Consumer Voice explains, it is only relatively recently that the mistreatment of seniors has made headlines. It has long been a hidden and ignored problem.
Considering the grow of the senior community, the need for universal commitment to eradicating elder abuse is more critical now than ever. Estimates suggest that the global senior population (60 years or older) will reach 1.2 billion by 2025. That will mark a doubling in size of the community in only three decades.
With those raw figures in mind, consider that the best estimates so far suggest that upwards of 6% of the entire community are abused in their own home. Even more critically, well over one-third of all nursing home staff member report witnessing instances of physical abuse in the facility. Another 40% of caregivers report instances of psychological abuse. As the face sheet explained, this abuse may include “physically restraining patients, depriving them of dignity and choice over daily affairs, and providing insufficient care (for example, allowing them to develop bed sores).”
Elder abuse is clearly a widespread problem. But for efficiency’s sake, it is important to identify the risk factors that may make certain seniors more susceptible to harm. For those at home, long-running family feuding, dependence on a single caregiver, and isolation are all warning signs. At senior facilities, those residents with cognitive ailments (i.e. dementia) and those from lower socioeconomic classes in poorer neighborhoods are frequently more at risk of being mistreated and suffering preventable harm.
On the nursing home front, it is helpful to investigate the quality of services at each facility. Institutions with lower staffing levels, fewer nurses, and more past citations are far and away more likely to provide negligent care that harms seniors. In fact, one of the key reasons that so much emphasis is placed on speaking out when you spot problems is that many facility owners and operators only enact changes which improve care (like hiring more staff), when they are forced to via legal accountability.
Do you know of mistreatment of a senior at a nursing home or assisted living facility in Illinois? If so, contact our law firm today to see how we can help. We have worked for decades ensuring that care facilities are held accountable for their treatment of residents.
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