South Carolina Among Worst For Elder Abuse Protections
Unfortunately, elder abuse is not uncommon. It is estimated that at least 10% of Americans over the age of 60 have experienced elder abuse. The real number is likely much higher, as studies show that as many as 20% of abuse cases are not reported to law enforcement.
This means that the elderly population is highly vulnerable. A recent report by WalletHub has assessed all 50 states and the District of Columbia to figure out how they rank for elder abuse protections. The website looked at 16 key metrics, including elder abuse, financial elder abuse laws, gross neglect and exploitation complaints, and quality of nursing homes.
Abuse in nursing homes is concerning. Common forms of elder mistreatment include neglect, emotional abuse, financial exploitation, retaliation against residents by staff, resident-to-resident incidents, and inappropriate medication use. Physical abuse and sexual abuse of residents, as well as the use of physical restraints, have all decreased in recent years but are still real concerns with lasting effects.
When it comes to elder abuse protections, South Carolina is toward the bottom of the list, coming in at number 49 (out of 51, including the 50 states and the District of Columbia). Only Montana and Utah rank lower. On the contrary, the states with the best elder abuse protections are Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Ohio, North Carolina, and Iowa. Alaska was determined to have the best nursing home quality, at 85.5%. However, Hawaii, Missouri, Connecticut, and Wisconsin have the most frequent nursing home facility inspections, at twice each year.
To protect the elderly, much of the responsibility rests with policymakers at both the state and federal level. Some ideas considered by lawmakers include strengthening regulations and oversight of facilities, to include better minimum staffing ratios and increased penalties for facilities who repeatedly fail to ensure a safe and healthy environment for their residents.
Families can also take steps to protect their elderly family members from financial abuse by establishing a trustworthy financial power of attorney. They can also have a contact in place for financial institutions so that companies can contact someone if there is suspicious activity on the account.
Sadly, abuse of the elderly appears to be on the rise, from family violence to neglect to financial scams.
Contact Us Today
It’s important to take care of your elderly loved ones. However, many states have very few protections, making it hard to successfully assert a claim elder abuse. This can make it easier for nursing home residents to suffer serious injuries, financial loss, or even death.
The Columbia nursing home abuse & neglect lawyers at Simmons Law Firm are ready to stand up for you and your family. We’ll carefully evaluate your claim and investigate the harm that a nursing home may have caused your loved one. Schedule a free consultation today by calling our office at (803) 779-4600 or filling out the online form.