Thursday, June 7, 2012

More Seniors Are Being Mistreated As Our Population Ages

A New Jersey law firm is focusing part of their work to help elders who are being abused. The Elder Abuse awareness day is June 15.

The recent media release was is titled: More Seniors Are Being Mistreated As Our Population Ages.

The media release states:
Elder abuse affects seniors across socioeconomic groups and care settings. 
June 07, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ 
Elder abuse affects seniors across socioeconomic groups and care settings. Exact figures on the number of the elderly affected are hard to pinpoint. A 2009 study conducted by the Institute for Justice, found that as many as 11 percent of the elderly living in community settings experienced some form of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse or neglect. 
The Government Accountability Office has noted weakness in the government oversight of nursing homes and enforcement of state and federal safeguards meant to protect residents from potentially abusive individuals. 
The most recent issue of the Public Policy & Aging Report (PPAR), published by the National Academy on an Aging Society, similarly found that as many as one in ten seniors over the age of 60 is suffering from some kind of abuse or neglect. 
Elder abuse has been under-addressed by public-policy. However, in an effort to combat the growing problem, congress enacted the Elder Justice Act in 2010. 
Elder Justice Act  
The Elder Justice Act went into effect as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010. The EJA addressed weakness in past federal and state efforts by authorizing grant programs to protect seniors living in community and institutional settings. State adult protective services will be bolstered, for example. Training and incentives would be offered for those who provide direct care. The EJA also created advisory panels on elder abuse within the Department of Health and Human Services. 
The EJA seeks to put in place a means to prevent, detect and prosecute elder abuse, neglect and exploitation. While the new law is a step in the right direction, it has received no funding toward education or enforcement to protect our seniors. 
Typical Forms of Abuse 
The forms of elder abuse are similar between nursing homes and domestic settings. Several common examples are:
- Physical, which might include inappropriate restraint
- Sexual, including unwanted fondling
- Emotional, such as verbal threats and intimidation 
More subtle forms may be denying residents a choice in what they want to eat, "labeling" an individual troublesome or ostracizing a resident. Senior citizens may also be vulnerable to exploitation. Schemes might target property, assets and money. Deceit can take place gradually and a family may not uncover the theft until it is too late and a bank account has already slowly been drained. 
Some forms of elder abuse can occur as the result of New Jersey nursing home negligence; the management at a facility may not properly train or monitor staff allowing for gaps in care or abusive situations to exist, or might permit dangerous persons to become residents, without proper safeguards to protect other residents. While it is impossible to constantly monitor what happens at a nursing home, an indication that something is wrong might be when a family member suffers an injury or starts to rapidly decline. 
The Toll of Elder Abuse 
Those who suffer mental impairment are at the greatest risk for abuse, because many times they are socially isolated. The effects of Alzheimer's disease or dementia may push loved ones away. Depending on the type and severity of these progressive diseases, personalities may change and the disorder may cause aggressive and mean traits. Nursing facility staff may seek to avoid these types of people and their care will suffer. 
Marie-Therese Connolly, JD, a 2011 recipient of a MacArthur fellowship, authored one of the PPAR articles, which presented evidence that there is a lack of coordination among numerous agencies when it comes to addressing elder abuse. Connolly said that "the human and economic toll exacted by elder abuse is vast, cruel and costly." Connolly would like to see more federal leadership and funding to address the growing elder abuse crisis. 
Elderly people who suffer neglect or abuse have a higher risk of contracting disease. They may lose hard earned money through exploitation. And in worst case scenarios, death may result from severe abuse or neglect. 
If a loved one suffers a rapid decline or an unexplained injury at his or her care facility, contact an experienced New Jersey nursing home negligence attorney to discuss the situation. In cases of negligent care, an attorney can hold the nursing home or assisted care facility accountable. 
Article provided by Kirsch Gartenberg & Howard
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