Not surprisingly given the increasing life expectancy, and should the trend continue, the number of people over age 85 living in the United States will increase by more than 100 percent by 2050. Right now, people in this age group make up a little under 2 percent of the country's population, but they are expected to constitute 4.5 percent of the population in 2050. With society become less and less integrated around the broader family unit, this means more elderly people in New Mexico and nationwide are going to have to turn to professionals for medical and personal care when they get too old to attend to these needs themselves.
A previous post on this blog talked about the various causes of falls at nursing homes in New Mexico and across the nation. As that post discussed, many of these falls are preventable so long as the patient is getting proper care. In other words, whenever a fall happens at a nursing home, it is appropriate for the family to ask questions and, depending on the answers, hold the nursing home and its staff accountable for the injury.
Falls among the elderly in New Mexico, including those staying in nursing homes and other retirement facilities, are very serious affairs. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hundreds of people die from complications due to falls every year. Moreover, up to 1 in 5 of those who fall suffer what are described as serious injuries, with a handful of these injuries being broken bones.
A family in the Albuquerque area no doubt will only put their loved one into a nursing home after careful consideration, and then only with the expectation that they will be properly cared for and, as much as possible, have their medical and other needs met.
When a person is asked to think of the most important things in their life, most people think of their family. When family members start to get older and have a difficult time caring for themselves due to ailing health, a medical facility or long-term care facility - sometimes known as a nursing home - is often a viable option. Some struggle with the idea of placing loved ones in a care facility. This is completely understandable, especially when horror stories related to nursing home neglect come to light.
Giving up one's freedom to live on their own home is not the same as giving up one's rights to be treated with dignity and respect. Often, though, when New Mexico residents are moved into nursing and care facilities they are subjected to mistreatment and neglect that may amount to abuse. Nursing home residents do not deserve the maltreatment that they too often receive and have rights that they may enforce when neglect and abuse cause them harm.
Elder abuse is a problem that plagues many of our nation's older residents. It can occur between members of a family and it can also occur between care givers and their older charges. In New Mexico and communities all throughout the United States senior citizens face serious threats to their physical, mental and financial health when they put their trust in nursing homes and other facilities that purport to provide them with adequate care.
One of the main reasons that an Albuquerque family may consider moving a loved one into a long-term care or nursing home facility is to make sure that the impacted loved one is having all of their daily needs met. When a person can no longer cook their own meals, see to their own grooming or provide their own transportation it may signal to a family that they need to take proactive steps to keep their loved one safe. For many, nursing homes provide a level of security and peace of mind for those who would otherwise worry about the well-being of their relatives.
The American population is aging. With advances in modern medicine and more initiatives to push people to lead healthier lives, New Mexico residents and their fellow citizens throughout the nation are living longer; sometimes into their seventies, eighties and beyond. As such, more and more people are finding that, as they age, they require some assistance to get through their daily lives, and as a result, more people are moving into nursing homes than ever before.
When a person acts without reasonable care, or without taking reasonable precautions to protect others from harm, then any injuries that result from that individual's actions may, based on the facts of the case, be compensable under a legal negligence theory of personal injury. In New Mexico and states throughout the country, negligence serves as the basis for many of the nursing home neglect cases that arrive in civil courts and that paint the tragic stories of victims who suffered harm while under the care of nursing and residential care homes.