The welfare of senior citizens living in assisted living centers and nursing homes is becoming even more of a serious issue as we enter the 2020 decade.
While there are over 50 million seniors over the age of 65 now, by 2040 the population will increase to 80 million. According to the National Center for Elder Abuse, by 2034 the population of older Americans will outnumber children. By 2060, there will be almost 20 million Americans over the age of 85.
No wonder that a whole new generation is worried about abuse and negligence in these facilities!
Pros of Assisted Living Facilities
Assisted living facilities are less expensive than nursing homes. Staff members are paid to keep residents comfortable in a home setting and in a socially active community.
Additional pros include:
- No need to pay for repairs
- More privacy
- More socialization
- Assistance with daily activities like eating and grooming
- Adaptable to changing needs
Staff members may help with some daily activities, but there’s more overall independence in such a facility.
Cons of Assisted Living Centers
Assisted living centers really can’t compare with nursing homes in terms of safety. Nursing homes are fully staffed with medical personnel.
Staff members can take care of various medical problems and keep surveillance on seniors who might be prone to fall or make life-threatening mistakes. Assisted living facilities are not this well-equipped.
Unfortunately, many of these centers are also understaffed.
For all these cons, assisted living centers are surprisingly expensive.
Senior Living Abuse and Neglect
Though facilities for seniors may allow some independence, there are other concerns. Some assisted living homes have had problems with physical abuse, as well as cases of emotional abuse, sexual, and financial abuse.
Just as many instances of abuse and neglect happen in assisted living facilities.
Even in an absence of criminal abuse, there can still be problems in a poorly managed facility. Staff members might forget to check-in at important times since residents are not under constant watch.
A study from the World Health Organization in 2020 found that as much as 64 percent of assisted living and nursing home staff members admitted to making abusive or negligent mistakes on the job.
Not All Assisted Living Communities Are Bad!
No, not all senior living centers are poorly managed. All it means is that the family should remain cautious when learning about a new elderly care facility.
Remember to pay close attention to the cleanliness of the facility, the temperament of the residents, and the personality of staff members.
Sample the food and check out social activities and other amenities the living facility provides. Taking a proactive approach can help you determine if the facility is a good fit or if something feels off.
The Responsibility of Assisted Living Centers
While there are pros and cons to consider, you must make the best choice according to your finances, daily schedule, and unique circumstances.
Just know that assisted living centers do share responsibility for the welfare of their residents and could be held liable for injury, abuse, or wrongful death.
These are the golden years for seniors, and in many cases loving parents who sacrificed a great deal for their children. Assisted living might be the only option, but there’s always the opportunity to get involved in a parent’s life.