The number of seniors with no children and no living spouse is growing and is expected to continue to expand in the future. Today, one in four seniors age 65 and older is a widow, a widower, or single and has either no children or no children that live close by. Among Americans between the ages of 45 and 60, currently 1/3 of the population is single. While seniors without spouses or local children are not necessarily socially isolated, a good portion of the aged population who fits into this demographic group also has no close friends nearby and no community network. Seniors who fit this description have been given the name “elder orphan,” according to Family-Studies.org.
Elder orphans could face an increased risk of falling victim to nursing home abuse and neglect, compared with seniors who have wider communities and close families to protect their interests. Seniors without close family members need to be vigilant about protecting their own interests, whenever possible. This means if you are a victim of abuse, you should contact an Atlanta nursing home neglect and abuse lawyer for assistance. Children who have parents in nursing homes and who suspect abuse should also take legal action, because an abuse investigation and lawsuit against a facility can stop the abuse of seniors who may not have an advocate to speak out on their behalf.
Atlanta Nursing Home Abuse a Growing Risk for “Elder Orphans”
Estimates suggest around 60 percent of seniors who live in nursing home facilities do not have visitors. Elder orphans, or seniors without close ties to friends or family, are more likely to end up in a nursing home because they do not have family members to provide for their care. Once these seniors are in a nursing home, identifying and stopping abuse against them is also more difficult. A senior being abused or victimized often is unable to speak out on his own and report or stop the abuse. This is especially true for someone suffering from dementia or similar health issues that affect physical or mental capacity. Without children or friends to visit and notice mistreatment, abuse can go on for a long period of time.
Protections must be put into place to protect these vulnerable members of the population. One solution is to increase community involvement in nursing homes. Volunteers to a facility may be able to spot when something is amiss, or can serve as a person an abused senior can confide in who does not work for the nursing home. Volunteers can help older seniors keep community connections and maintain quality of life, as well as watching for signs of abuse. Those who volunteer in a nursing home facility need to watch for signs of neglect or wrongful treatment and make appropriate reports.
When children visit their parents in nursing homes, they should also be watchful for signs that something is wrong. If their parent is being neglected or abused, chances are someone else is also being mistreated. Promptly reporting the abuse and taking legal action can stop the wrongful behavior and protect all vulnerable seniors.
The Atlanta nursing home abuse lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent you after an injury caused by a negligent or abusive nursing home. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.