Elder Abuse is Happening in Our Own Backyard
Recent statistics by the National Center on Elder Abuse state that 9.5% of the elderly population suffered some form of abuse in 2010. That is roughly one out of of every ten people over 60 years of age. Despite how shocking those numbers may be, it is difficult to see them as anything other than numbers. Connecting real names and faces to the individuals who experience abuse and neglect can be challenging. We write them off, dismiss these incidents as anomalies or freak accidents.
Unfortunately, these cases hit closer to home than we may want to believe. A recent article by the Houston Chronicle reported the death of two residents in a northwest Houston nursing home after both were beaten to death by another resident with a wheelchair armrest.
According to the article, Antonio Acosta, one of the victims, warned his family about the dangers of his new roommate, even begging them to find somewhere else for him to go. The roommate, 56-year-old Guillermo Correa, was charged with capital murder for the death of Acosta and another roommate, Primitivo Lopez, the article reports.
This tragic murder sheds some light on a problem that is often not thought about when we talk about abuse in nursing homes. Often we assume that nursing home abuse refers to blatant abuse between a staff member and a resident. However, as was the case in Houston, abuse can also occur between residents. The Houston facility, Lexington Place, refused to comment, the article states.
These incidents are often yet another result of understaffed nursing homes. More supervision, more time for resident concerns and more careful monitoring of arguments between residents can go a long way in preventing these tragedies.