Elder abuse and neglect of senior citizens is becoming an international problem as people throughout the world age. Recently, the Daily News painted a chilling picture of serious problems of poverty and neglect. Seniors are facing a lack of proper care not just in nursing homes but even when under the care of family members in their own home. A ProPublica Investigation into assisted living homes also painted a chilling portrait of what life is like for seniors in assisted living facilities.
When seniors cannot count on nursing homes, assisted-living facilities or even their own children to provide an adequate level of care, there are very few places for these individuals to turn. An experienc0ed nursing home abuse lawyer in Mobile knows that many of the seniors who are victims of abuse or neglect end up losing their lives or giving up the will to live, and these outcomes are tragic. Seniors should not have to put up with substandard care, especially in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities which are paid to provide for residents and which the law says must meet the basic needs of the elderly charges under their care.
Elder Abuse is Becoming a Major Worldwide Problem
By 2050, senior citizens are expected to outnumber children for the first time in history. These aging seniors may live at home with children or family members as caregivers, or they may live in assisted living or nursing home environments. Many will be very poor, as only one in five older people worldwide has a pension to provide for them in old age.
Even those with money may experience significant financial hardships due to their medical costs, as seniors represent a large portion of the 100 million people each year who fall into poverty as a result of medical expenses. Medicaid in the United States should cover nursing home costs for eligible seniors in the United States, but even when in the care of a nursing home, seniors aren’t guaranteed a comfortable environment.
The problem is that nursing homes and assisted-living facilities are often understaffed and under-regulated, which has serious consequences. Assisted-living facilities may be especially dangerous because as ProPublica indicates, they are not subject to federal requirements that the facilities be inspected once every 15-months as nursing homes are. However, while nursing homes do need to be inspected by law, violations may not be identified immediately and seniors may be unable to speak up for themselves when there is a problem.
Getting a clear picture of the number of seniors who are abused or neglected is difficult precisely because so many seniors cannot stand up for themselves. However, the Daily News recently indicated that anywhere from four to 10 percent of seniors receiving their care are at home are abused, and that as many as four to six percent of seniors in developed countries like the U.S. suffer from abuse in nursing home or other assisted-living environments.
Despite the prevalence of elder abuse, however, the U.S. did not pass the Elder Justice Act until 2010, and no more than two cents out of every dollar spent on family violence by the U.S. government goes to elder abuse. Far too little is being done to help seniors, especially as the rapid aging of the population leaves many seniors looking for care.
Contact the Mike Slocumb Law Firm in Mobile, AL at 1-800-HURTLINE to schedule a free consultation.