According to an Illinois judge, it has been reported that as many as 11 percent of the elderly population experience some sort of abuse. Such a statistic may actually understate the problem because so many such cases remain unreported.
Such abuse can include neglect, emotional abuse, outright physical abuse or the stealing of the elderly individual's possessions and finances. The elderly remain the most vulnerable of our adult population, and there is an additional vulnerability to such elderly people of nursing home abuse when there is a sense among staff that no one is there to look out for that elderly person.
Friends and family members should be vigilant in checking up on elderly people in nursing homes in order to make certain that abuse is not taking place. Those responsible for such abuse often look for elderly individuals that have become isolated due to their circumstances.
We should not rely on improved legislation alone to provide protections for elderly people. It has been found that the intervention of attorneys sympathetic to the plight of elderly people has played a positive role in reducing elderly abuse. For example, a number of abuse cases in Illinois were resolved simply because an attorney called prosecutors to alert them of abuse that may have been taking place.
Those responsible for the abuse of elderly people are probably not aware of the grave mistake they are making. All of us will be in that same position at some point, and safeguards that are put in place now protecting the elderly people will ultimately lead to us all being protected later on.
Source: The Telegraph, "Stories of elder abuse emerge at conference," by Sanford J. Schmidt, August 17, 2012