After numerous investigations and countless proposed and enacted reforms, the abuse of older adults in nursing homes and other care facilities continues. Ranging from sinister sexual abuse to significant financial exploitation, problems are still looking for solutions.
Last year, the Department of Human Resources received more than 12,000 complaints of nursing home abuse, a shocking increase of 115 percent when looking at data from 2012 that numbered 5,597.
The Department of Senior Services oversees the Interagency Council for the Prevention of Elder Abuse. The coalition includes AARP Alabama, the Association of Nursing Homes, and various state departments.
Can a registry help vulnerable seniors?
The Alabama Elder And Adult in Need of Protective Services Abuse Registry represents a new way to track so-called “caregivers” who have abused, neglected, and exploited older adults. Using data from various government agencies, the objective is to maintain the ongoing protection of vulnerable adults.
The process is anything but perfect. Sex offender registries are public knowledge. Yet, similar listings involving elder abuse are only accessible to provide background checks for employers hiring staff. Simply put, the registry does not stop anyone from being employed. The ultimate decision belongs to employers based on available data.
With World Elder Abuse Awareness Day right around the corner, education and promotion are of paramount importance. The event coming in June will provide information on their website for providers. Streaming webinars may also be a component in getting the message out regarding elder abuse.
Allegations of abuse have increased year over year since 2012, excluding the pandemic. The difficulties facing officials trying to tackle the problem is whether abuse is growing or people are reporting more sinister acts.