Nursing Home/Long Term Care/Home Care/Senior Negligence
I'm doing a Senior Project (12th Grade)at my high-school. We have to find a problem, show how we solved, create a research paper on the problem, and do a class presentation. The topic I chose is senior negligence. For the project, we have to get one source from an expert. As a result, I thought you would be perfect! I have some questions for you. Can you please answer them? Thank you for taking your time to read and answer the following questions!
1. Why is senior negligence a problem?
2. What can people do to help solve this problem?
3. What are some things anyone (how big or small) could do to help alleviate the problem?
4. Can you give examples of senior negligence that you see when working at a nursing home?
5. Why are people unaware of the situation?
6. What are some negative results of senior negligence?
7. Why do people neglect seniors?
8. Can you give me any information that you view as important about the topic that is not in questions 1-7?
As again, thank you very much for reading and answering my questions!
Good evening. You have picked a very relevant and important topic for your senior project. As our population ages, more and more people are becoming seniors and are susceptible to negligence. Negligence is only one form of Senior Abuse. Seniors can be targets for physical, mental, financial and emotional abuse. Many times seniors are in a vulnerable state. This may be due to many mental challenges due to aging diseases. They may have memory loss, or loss of cognitive decline and are just not thinking clearly. They may be vulnerable due to physical frailty and unable to help themselves with many tasks that are required to live in a healthy manner. So, while you have chosen to focus on negligence, I would venture to say that any type of abuse to seniors is equally as important and egregious.
1. Negligence for seniors is a problem because as a healthy society we should be concerned about the care of those that are vulnerable. Seniors may not have the mental ability any longer to make good decisions for themselves due to the many aging diseases and their effects on the brain; or due to normal aging. Additionally, as seniors become physically frail they are also susceptible to negligence. Many times Seniors are aging in their own homes and become socially isolated as they are unable to drive and may live away from their adult children or families. If they are not looked in on regularly, they could fall prey to a number of issues related to negligence. They may forget to eat and drink and therefore suffer from dehydration or malnutrition. If they are physically in an at risk category for falls, they may fall and break a bone, be unable to get to a phone or get the assistance they need for hours on end. If physically they are unable to get a bath, go to the restroom, or get up without assistance, they are at risk of getting sickness and even death from lack of hygiene and proper care. Seniors, may times, if not cared for properly will experience premature death brought on by lack of care, skin break downs, sickness brought on by lack of nutrition or hydration, etc. Sickness that a younger person could stave off, many times may kill a senior due to their fragile immune systems. So, negligence is a problem because seniors are in an at-risk category for increased sickness and death if not cared for properly.
2. The good news is that people can help to prevent senior negligence in a number of ways. By looking in on seniors in their own families, neighborhoods and churches. For seniors who do not have a family or support networks near, there are many community agencies, state agencies and churches that will help seniors. Many times, as seniors age, their fixed incomes are not sufficient to make sure that they have enough money for food, home repairs and electricity and heating. There are many seniors that live in poverty and do not know about agencies that are there that will help them financially, with food, home repairs and heating and cooling their homes. People can help by making calls to local agencies to make sure that the seniors that need help are connected to Agencies on Aging, Meals on Wheels, and transportation services for the aging and community groups that help with home repairs. Additional groups help Veterans as a special targeted group and many seniors are veterans. Additionally people can report any senior who is in a neglected state to their Stateís Agency on Aging Elder Abuse Department. When a report is made to the Elder Abuse Department they will send out an advocate who will investigate and get the senior the help that they need. Sometimes this may mean moving the senior to a facility where they can get proper care. Most states are mandatory reporting states. This means if an individual has knowledge of a senior that is being abuse or neglected and they do not report this, the individual can be charged with a crime for failure to report. People can help seniors by always reporting whether it is a mandatory reporting state or not.
3. People can themselves volunteer with non-profit agencies that assist the elderly. They can help to deliver meals, do light housekeeping, cutting grass or home repairs for the elderly. They can run errands for the elderly and visit them. In this way, seniors are connected to those that help and are not left alone. People can make sure that seniors have rides to the doctor or appointments, have their prescriptions picked up for them, etc. If an individual is not able to help themselves they can donate money to agencies that provide these services to seniors. If family members live away from their senior loved ones they can pay for agencies to send caregivers to their senior loved one to ensure they are not neglected. Such an agency would be a Home Care agency that employs caregivers.
4. I donít work in a nursing home but can give you an example of senior negligence. A senior lady lives alone in a rural part of the community. She has no children and no husband. Her only relative is a nephew who lives out of state. She is unable to drive. She is many time home alone for days on end. She has members of her church who come by every 3 or 4 days. But they are unable to come every day because she lives far in the country. She got in the tub one night and could not get out. She spent three days in the tub and would let the water out some and fill with warm water every now and then to keep herself warm. Until someone from her church came by and helped her get out. She is in no condition to live alone any longer. She is being neglected by her family member who should come and make arrangement for caregivers to come to her home daily and make sure she is eating and is taken care of, or move her to a home or his home.
Another example, is a senior who was confined to the bed. This senior could no longer walk, get out of the bed by himself, or stand up at all. His loved one would come by every couple of days to see about him. However, he was urinating and defecating in the bed and no one was changing him or his linens. This was reported to Elder abuse and he was moved to a nursing home.
In a nursing home, many times there are not enough attentive staff members. There is usually one CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) or Aide to 15 to 18 people. Many times a meal is brought to a senior and no one checks to make sure the senior has eaten. The meal will be collected an hour later and the senior did not eat. There are additional problems in nursing homes related to lack of staff. Common problems are seniors not being changed and being in soaked adult diapers for hours resulting in bed sores and open wounds as a result. This is literally criminal and is certainly negligence.
5. People are unaware of the situation because in the United States the elderly are a forgotten part of our society. While in other cultures, the elderly are revered, in the United States society finds that the elderly are no longer necessary, or important. It seems that once a person is no longer earning an income, and contributing, our culture seems to discount them. Those that are dependent get lost in the hustle and bustle of the younger generations earning a living and keep up with the rush of our lives today. It is a very sad commentary about our society!
6. If a senior is neglected they can become depressed, ill, financially exploited, victimized physically and mentally, and die.
7. People neglect seniors because there will always be people who do not care for those who are dependent on them properly. Another reason is because as a personís parent ages many times they are in denial about how much help their parent really needs. They may not face the fact that their parent can no longer drive safely until a wreck happens, or until the person drives and gets lost and is unable to get back home. They may not face the fact that their parent is unable to remember to eat or take their medicine, until they wind up in the hospital as a result. So, sometime it is intentional from the negligent part of society. And sometimes it is part of the families not really aware of how bad things are with their aged loved one.
8. Our seniors are one of our greatest resources as a society. One of the greatest things we can teach our children is to care for those who are vulnerable and that a personís worth is not determined by how busy they are or how much money they make. Many adult children (in their 60ís and 70ís) who have cared for their aging parents have told me the hardest thing they ever did in their life was care for their aging parent or loved one. They also said it was the most meaningful thing they ever did in their whole life! It is in giving care to others, that we receive great rewards in life!
I hope this helps you with your project. My best to you as you advocate for our precious seniors! Please let me know if you have any further questions. May God bless you in your research and work for this project.