Tag Archives: senior abuse

Investigative series on Georgia’s senior care industry a worthwhile read

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My local newspaper (and former employer, I must disclose) has unveiled an investigative reporting project that is putting a much-needed spotlight on the rampant deficiencies in Georgia’s senior care communities. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Unprotected series recounts heartbreaking stories of abuse and neglect, how potential crimes were never reported to law enforcement and how residents are at risk no matter how upscale a community markets itself to be.

If you’ve ever had a loved one in a senior care facility, you likely will be able to relate to the reports included in this series. Families know all too well that such facilities are chronically understaffed and offer such poor pay that those with questionable backgrounds who lack professional experience are often hired. While family members struggle to pay the several thousand dollars a month that these facilities charge, their loved ones may be suffering and unable to defend themselves.

My parents spent time in care facilities in New Mexico, and I saw first-hand the deficiencies. My father suffered multiple falls and an altercation with a fellow resident at his memory care center. The center used an off-label medication to help keep the patients with severe dementia “more manageable.” It’s a common tactic used at such facilities, though of course none would admit it on record.

My mother’s facility was woefully understaffed, leading to my mother not being cleaned after soiling herself, and almost getting the wrong medication or treatment multiple times. It was only because I could be there daily as her patient advocate that further harm to her was avoided. When the laundry facilities broke down for a week, my mother had to used soiled towels and linens, putting her compromised immune system at risk of infection.

I hope you get a chance to read the Unprotected series and share with others. Encourage your local newspaper to conduct similar investigations if they haven’t already. The more that these criminal acts can be exposed, the greater chance we have in forcing changes in a corrupt system that is putting our elder loved ones at risk.

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Mice attack face of dementia patient in nursing home

I came across a gruesome story that reinforces the need for better oversight of nursing homes: a patient attacked by mice. Staff members doing room checks discovered a group of mice literally eating a patient’s face. The woman, who has dementia and is physically immobile, could not escape from the mice nor call out for help. This is truly a nightmare situation that no one would want their loved one to endure. The woman survived the attack and is recovering, but is obviously still emotionally traumatized from the event. The manager of the facility claims they struggle with mice issues because of a nearby farm. The same facility has also had issues with bedbugs.

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This incident took place in Canada, and it was interesting to read the comments associated with the story because it appears Canadians and Americans are struggling with similar problems when it comes to senior care. There are not enough dedicated funds to regulate and fully staff senior care facilities, which can lead to horrible cases such as the one in the news this week. Once again, it seems that seniors are being forgotten by politicians. With all of the bluster around Syria, there has been much talk about protecting the children. While no one disputes the need to keep children safe, the poor woman in that bed in the nursing home being attacked by mice was just as helpless as a baby. Where is the outrage?

For those who have loved ones with dementia in nursing homes, this is a reminder to be vigilant about looking for signs of neglect. If you see any bites, rashes or other unusual symptoms, have it checked out. When a loved one with dementia is emotionally upset, it can be hard to determine the source. If you can rule out something in their physical surroundings that is alarming them, it can give you some peace of mind. It’s difficult to imagine anything more frightening than having some creature gnawing on you and you cannot move or ask for help. We must be advocates for those who can no longer defend themselves.

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