Side Note

New data suggests America treats the elderly like shit

Did you know that America didn’t get around to creating a nationwide system for reporting elder abuse until October 2015? That was a thing that happened, but now that we have such a system, called the National Adult Maltreatment Reporting System (NAMRS), which collects data about elder abuse from reports submitted to state and local hotlines. Just recently, the first batch of data from the NAMRS made its way into the world, and the results weren’t pretty.

Most gallingly, there were 1.5 million cases of elder abuse reported to NAMRA, which, if I’m not mistaken, legally qualifies as one metric ass-ton of elder abuse cases. This includes reports of neglect, financial exploitation, suspicious deaths, and physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. It was also found that many regions of the nation don’t offer adequate care for elders who have been mistreated, either by placing seniors on long waiting lists for care or simply not offering treatment services in their area.

It’s worth noting that the NAMRS data only covers cases from the year 2016. Given the Trump Administration’s policies, there’s no reason to hope those numbers might go down. Last year, they took drastic measures to reduce both the number and amount of fines levied against nursing homes that kill or harm their residents; by January, they’d instituted a $21,000 maximum allowable fine against nursing homes (previously, fines could approach hundreds of thousands of dollars). Meanwhile, as the number of seniors prepares to skyrocket, wages for home health aides — who provide in-home care to seniors so that they don’t have to go to assisted living facilities — hover at a shockingly low $22,000 per year, and it’s anticipated there will be a shortage of nearly half a million home health aides by 2025.

It’s Mother’s Day. Please call your grandma and tell her how much you love her.