WSPA reported on the sad state of affairs in South Carolina nursing homes. South Carolina ranks dead last of a Wallet Hub study when it comes to resources in place to help prevent elder abuse. According to WalletHub, one in five U.S. residents will be retirement age by 2030, meaning more aging adults will eventually need assistance and could potentially become vulnerable to care takers. Senior Action Executive Director Andrea Smith says that nearly 5 percent of our aging population will live in a nursing home at the end of their life.
Elder abuse and neglect is a growing issue, especially in nursing homes. Mostly as a result of short-staffing at nursing homes. Without sufficient staff to meet the needs of the residents, the nursing homes know that residents will suffer injuries.
State Rep. Garry Smith (R) Greenville is working to introduce legislation that will make it more difficult for abusers to go from one nursing home to the next without being tracked. Right now, South Carolina allows nursing homes to police themselves and hope they do a proper background check.
“The agencies and departments do a real good job following up on the reports, but the legislature has done a very poor job. It’s also something that we need to do to protect those who cannot protect themselves,” Rep. Smith said in a phone interview.
“Giving not only support for the seniors but for the family members that are caring for them is another important thing that we as a community really need to get our arms around. How do we support the folks that are taking care of seniors,” Smith says.
Andrea and her staff know that knowledge is power, so they teach those who visit the center how to take care of themselves, emotionally, mentally and physically.