Comedian Joe E. Louis had a mantra he used in his “standup” days: “If I’d known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.” Many members of the “baby boomer” generation reaching retirement age don’t even concern themselves with how they will be able to afford nursing home care, if needed. With the average cost in this country pushing $5,000 per month most son’s and daughter’s of elderly parents would rather oversee their parents care at home if they could; however the reality is today’s modern living often precludes this option.
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Detecting, addressing and preventing elder abuse in residential nursing home care facilities is of major concern. And in recent years, since it is the fastest growing form of senior housing, abuse and neglect and complaints in many of these facilities has run rampant even though nursing home care remains the preference of the elderly and their families as well. A recent national study showed over 50,000 residential facilities in the USA housing a mainly elderly population. On top of that statistic, nobody knows for sure how many unlicensed homes offer a mixed population of poor older persons and others with mental illness who can barely survive by themselves.
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A lot of the neglect and abuse conundrum can be laid at the feet of the federal government who do not license residential nursing home facilities; ergo, it is up to the individual states to process, detect, investigate, resolve, and ultimately prevent elder abuse. Many of the nursing home facilities are owned by for-profit corporations. In order to maximize profits, they drastically cut back on staff or hire less competent workers at low salaries to decrease costs. That said the elderly tenants are not getting the attention they require. Therefore, neglect, abuse, and inadequate treatment fester, and become a monolithic and ongoing problem. It happens more often than most people think when considering nursing home abuse of the elderly. It’s usually summed up in one familiar word used by the legal profession: Negligence! Family members should always look for the “red flags.”