October is National Nursing Home Residents’ Rights Month and this year the theme is “Speak Out Against Elder Abuse!”
Long Term Care Residents
Residents’ Rights Month celebrates the rights of each and every person living in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, retirement communities, and all other long term care settings. This month, organizations are encouraging and educating people to speak out against elder abuse and help bring attention to any issues they observe in a long term care environment.
Unfortunately, elder abuse can often be hard to identify, especially if the victim of the abuse is suffering from cognitive decline or is simply too afraid to speak up against the maltreatment. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, between 7.6% and 10% of participants in the most recent study experienced abuse in the past year. However, many elder abuse cases go unreported for years. In fact, one study estimates that only 1 in 14 elder abuse cases are reported.
Acknowledging and celebrating the rights of long term care residents is important to retaining a high level of quality care across the country and ensuring residents feel comfortable during the time that they receive care.
Planning ahead for long term care will also help ensure you receive quality care and can remain as independent as long as possible in your elderly years. Considering the financial and emotional risks of long term care during retirement planning may help you avoid a negative long term care situation.
Consumer Voice, the organization responsible for Residents’ Rights Month, has come up with a few important questions for residents to ask themselves and consider in order to promote better awareness:
- Have you ever experienced having to speak out against elder abuse?
- Why do you think it’s important to speak out against elder abuse?
- How can you encourage others to speak out against elder abuse?
- What could facilities, families and communities do to make residents feel safe and know that their right to be free from abuse is supported?