Having an aging family member can be stressful and unnerving. Every family wants to make sure their loved one is cared for properly, but figuring out how to make that happen is not always easy. According to the National Council on Aging, about one in 10 Americans age 60 or older has experienced some form of elder abuse—and many cases go unreported. In fact, some estimates are that only one in 14 cases of elder abuse is reported. As a result, many advocates find abuse is even more common than most people think. Elder abuse includes physical abuse, as well as sexual abuse, exploitation, emotional abuse, neglect, and abandonment. Abusers can be family members, or they can be staff at nursing homes and other caretakers.
Elder Americans are especially vulnerable to abuse, in part because they are often isolated and suffer from mental impairment. Abuse can result in injuries and death and also can negatively affect elders’ financial security, health, and dignity. And as the American population ages, more people are at risk of abuse. In 2014, long-term care providers served about nine million people in the United States. A recent case showed a strange and unexpected case of abuse that affected many vulnerable nursing home residents.
Nursing Home Employees Convicted After Harming Residents’ Dolls
According to one news source, two nursing home employees were recently convicted for abusing residents’ dementia dolls. The two women pleaded guilty for their treatment of residents at a nursing home. The employees, who were both in their 20s, were employees at a nursing home where dolls were used a therapeutic tool for residents to care for as if they were their own children. The nursing home housed residents with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.