Elder Abuse Remains Hidden Problem in America

Ken Connor, a contributor to TownHall.com recently penned a clear-sighted article in an attempt to raise awareness to the problem of abuse of our senior citizens. Of course our Chicago nursing home attorneys at Levin & Perconti fully endorse the logic of the issue, as we have spent decades working on the goal of ensuring the proper care and safety of the elderly. The article reminds readers that abuse of elders is growing to epidemic proportions as seniors continue grow to become a larger percentage of the national population. This trend will place increasing importance on the need for proper elder care and require a unified effort to ensure that our vulnerable seniors are not forgotten when they require our support.

Examples of extreme degradation of seniors at nursing homes abound. From wounds allowed to become infested with maggots, a resident’s death after being trapped in a freezer, and Illinois residents being given chemical restraints as if on an assembly-line, countless other horrific cases of abuse at these facilities are identified every day.

The immensely inadequate care proliferates in large part because of the profit-driven culture that has seeped into the nursing home industry. Large conglomerates treat nursing homes as if they were real estate developments with mere space to fill, instead of critical care facilities upon which some of society’s most vulnerable members depend. In that way nursing home administrators focus their efforts less on quality service but instead on ensuring high occupancy levels. The problem is then compounded when labor costs minimized by understaffing facilities. A quick comparison of the staffing figures of profit and non-profit nursing homes emphasizes the point. A recent AAJ report found that those facilities driven by profit have on average 32% fewer nurses and 47% higher staffing deficiencies than their non-profit counterparts.

The article suggests a few steps that should be taken to help fix the growing problem. At the forefront is the need for the problem of eldercare to be viewed as an American priority. The need for proper care should be viewed as an unshakable obligation upon which our citizenry refuses to falter. It is important for Americans to consider it a moral obligation to care for our seniors, whether guided by spiritual beliefs or a reasoned sense of morality, we cannot let out vulnerable citizens to languish any longer.

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