The population in California continues to grow. Among the fastest growing segments of the population are elderly people. After all, many people in America are living longer, healthier lives. California, in particular, is home to many people who make sensible lifestyle choices. Unfortunately, with more elderly people in the state, the instances of elder abuse are also on the rise.
California residents know that putting a relative in a nursing home usually isn't easy. But, while many people are able to take the time and shoulder the expense of caring for an elderly relative, the fact is that sometimes making arrangements for them to live in a nursing home is unavoidable. Unfortunately, elder abuse has risen to the forefront of societal discourse as more people begin to realize that nursing home abuse and neglect may not be all that uncommon.
Any of our readers who have seen previous posts here about nursing home neglect and abuse know that elder abuse is an issue that has been rising in awareness among the public. More awareness is, of course, a good thing, but many may not know some of the specific data right here in California, which many will likely agree is startling.
For most Southern California residents the thought of an elderly loved one being subjected to humiliation, neglect or abuse can turn the stomach. Most people understand that there may come a time when these elderly family members will need to receive around-the-clock care at an assisted living center or a nursing home, but when that time comes they expect their family members to be treated with care and respect. The sad reality is, however, that elder abuse does occur in a wide variety of circumstances.
Throughout the country, including in California, people are becoming more educated about the pervasive problem of elder abuse. This type of abuse is nothing new, but government entities, as well as private organizations, have spent the last several years raising awareness of this important societal issue. It is an issue that will become even more important as the average age of the American population increases dramatically over the next few years.
People in California have literally thousands of options when it comes to choosing a nursing home or assisted living facility for their loved ones. The choice often comes down to what a family can afford and what their insurance will cover, but other issues such as location and the quality of the facility are just as important factors in the decision. The decision can be incredibly difficult, and knowing where to get reliable information is also difficult, so people need to do their homework and question their source of information before making this important decision.
Most people who have loved ones in California nursing homes simply cannot be there to help them 24 hours a day. People with aging parents want the best for them, but it is just too much to ask of a person to have a career, raise children, and also look after their elderly parents all at the same time. Seniors who cannot take care of themselves may wind up in assisted living facilities or may have an in-home nurse or care specialist come to their houses several times a week, which can be a huge relief to their families. But what happens when the person who is supposed to keep an elderly patient from harm isn't doing his or her job adequately. Or worse, what if that person is actually doing the patient harm?
Nursing homes in California might not all be relaxation and enjoyment. For every well-manicured green lawn and attentive and caring staff member, there may well be an unsanitary facility and an abusive or neglectful nurse or assistant. Unqualified or short-handed staff, abusive workers, unsanitary or overcrowded facilities and lack of sufficient medical care are all major problems that California senior citizens are facing, but those who don't take matters into their own hands may never be able to correct the problem.
People in California who have parents or loved ones reaching their later years know that they may have some difficult choices to make when it comes to finding them affordable and reliable assistance and medical care. California's unprecedented aging population is putting a strain on the number of nursing home facilities and home health care nurses, especially as today's seniors are, on average, living longer lives than ever before.
People in California who have loved ones in nursing homes or assisted living facilities might be interested in a recent article about the Governor's new approach to nursing home oversight in Los Angeles County and across the state. The governor's new budget would shift a lot of the responsibility for the inspection and certification of nursing homes and other specialized medical and care facilities to the counties, many of which will have to adapt and create new programs to meet this new challenge.