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How to prevent abuse and neglect of elders

In 2017, CNN published a set of articles on nursing home rapes that dominated headlines for months — if not years. The reason so many people in Georgia and the rest of America were appalled is obvious. Sexual crimes are always heinous, but are even more so when the victims are utterly helpless and may not even be able to recognize what is happening to them, much less name their abusers. As awareness increased, it also raised questions about other types of abuse that were rampant in nursing homes.

Naturally, this was swiftly followed by concerns about how to protect the people who reside in these homes. Back in 2014, Forbes too noticed a rampant abuse of elders, not just sexually but financially and emotionally. Forbes recommends the following tips for application at the administrative and state level to combat elder abuse.

Public awareness

The author of the Forbes article shared the story of how a store clerk rescued her aunt from financial abuse by recognizing something was amiss and alerting the family. Investing in educating the public on how to recognize the signs of elder abuse could help more people to be saved from their abusers through civic engagement.

Training caregivers

Oftentimes, paid caregivers are painted as the abusers. However, what happens when family members are the perpetrators? Forbes believes that caregivers should receive proper education and training, whether they are paid professionals, family members or a concerned friend.

Quantifying abuse

In a capitalist society, few things are as convincing as numbers; few numbers are as convincing as those related to money. By quantifying the economic effects of elder abuse, the public would get a better picture of the fiscal side effects.

Ultimately, combating elder abuse requires collective action from the public, family members and appointed caregivers. Regular checks and balances, including audits, could also help to reduce the likelihood of abuses going undocumented and unnoticed.

In addition to this, one must ask the question. If doctors lose their license for malpractice, why are so many caregivers allowed to continue in the profession after allegations of abuse against them are proven?

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