People with elderly family members in Alabama nursing homes often worry about their safety and with good reason. In 2017, CNN reported on the rape epidemic taking place in nursing homes across America. The report took the public by surprise as few people considered that the elderly may be at risk for sexual assault or rape.
Not only did the report uncover the issue of sexual abuse in nursing homes, but it also showed that many of these cases were not properly handled. The number of nursing homes receiving citations for mishandling of suspected sexual abuse cases totaled more than 1,000.
The report stirred individuals and organizations alike to take action. One of the most notable is the National Association of Health Care Assistants. It responded to the report by making plans to improve its efforts to better train and educate its health professionals. The organization also aimed to turn its professionals into advocates for those who could not speak for themselves by showing them how to identify potential abuse.
Many people lamented that there were not better laws in place to protect the elderly. However, Forbes points out that the Elder Justice Act could help to resolve many of the issues the elderly face if it received more support. So far, less than 10% of the funding authorized for the enforcing of the Act was properly allocated. Delinquencies and inadequacies are particularly seen when it comes to dedicated funds meant for Adult Protective Services. There are even some areas that never received funding, such as the forensic centers that should have investigated cases of abuse.
The irony is that elder justice has bipartisan support. There are strong advocates on both sides but they may need more public support to move the rest of Congress to act. The Forbes article encourages the public to demand better protections against elder abuse from the federal government.