“Jane, I don’t want to be here anymore! Can’t I just go home?” Jane had heard this so many times from her 94 year old mother, Betty. Betty had Alzheimer’s and often said things that made no sense. As a result, Jane usually did not take what her mother said seriously. Jane was becoming slightly suspicious, though. Betty had said it so many times it almost seemed like she really had a legitimate reason to leave. Wanting to reassure herself, Jane hid a camera in a teddy bear that sat on Betty’s nightstand. Two weeks later Jane decided to watch what the camera had captured. To her horror, she saw a nurse aide throw her mother onto the bed and act very disrespectful toward her. The aide seemed to have no conscience as they cared for Betty. Jane was completely shocked. How could this happen? Although this is an extreme case, there are many instances throughout the United States of elder abuse and many go unnoticed. Elder abuse can be prevented with the use of cameras in long-term care facilities.
There are many different types of elder abuse. Abuse can range from physically hitting or inflicting pain upon a resident to simply neglecting to perform an essential task or stealing their possessions or money. Elder abuse usually happens in long-term care facilities, though it can happen in the residents own home as well. According to the National Center of Elder Abuse, only one in fourteen cases of elder abuse are ever reported to authorities (“15 Questions”). That means that there are thousands of elders being abused without anybody knowing or standing up for them. Personally, I would never want to put my parents in a facility simply because I would not have the confidence that they would be taken care of with the same amount of care I would give them.
In a Kalamazoo, Michigan nursing home, an administrator was charged with financial abuse in 2010. The administrator was responsible for the finances of several residents and had access to the elders' bank accounts. The elders had trusted this administrator with their finances. Over the course of six months, the administrator stole roughly $40,000 from 6 different elders. He wrote out checks to himself from the elders' account and withdrew money from their account for himself. He was caught and charged with financial abuse and theft. He is currently serving a five-year sentence in prison. Unfortunately, there are many other cases of abuse throughout Michigan that do not get caught. There are means by which abuse can be prevented and action must be taken in order to help elders defend themselves.
The elders that live in the facilities should be given the means to report the abuse of either themselves or of one of the other residents. In a study conducted by the National Center on Elder Abuse, 95% of elders living in a long-term care facility admitted to being neglected or seeing someone else being neglected (Broyles). The residents are the ones that are there all the time. They...