“I Care A Lot” – Thoughts on Elder Abuse

"I Care A Lot" is a Netflix film that centers around the topic of elder abuse. This film has many people talking about the dangers our seniors face as they age. We welcome the discussion as we reassert our belief that senior health and happiness need to be the primary motivations for senior care and related industries.

Owners, operators, investors, and caregivers of small, residential assisted living homes protect seniors from harmful elements while focusing on quality care, health, and independence.

When most people get older, they have to rely more on others to help them.

As a result, there is a risk of mistreatment or being taken advantage of as seniors.

However, the Residential Assisted Living National Association shines a light on the small assisted living homes, and the potential to provide better and safer care than the large nursing home style facilities.

Unfortunately, elder abuse is a reality that can happen to anyone.

The residential assisted living model of senior care understands what to look for to keep seniors safe, and caregivers build close relationships to ensure seniors receive protection on all fronts.

Be encouraged because your role in the industry is helping seniors nationwide.

What you do matters.

THE BIG PICTURE ABOUT NETFLIX BLOCKBUSTER “I CARE A LOT

The film starts with the false presumption that there are no good people. It implies that everyone is ruthless, greedy, and self-absorbed.

It’s an intrinsically woven-together storyline. It paints a picture of two types of people in this world. One group takes, and the other gets taken.

Writer and director J Blakeson didn’t reveal what person inspired the leading role, but viewers speculate that Marla’s character has similarities to a guardian named April Parks.

Sentenced in 2019, Parks went to prison for 16-40 years, owing $500,000 in restitution.

A 2017 New Yorker article, “How the Elderly Lose Their Rights,” was also featured in a 2020 Netflix episode titled “Dirty Money.”

The episode revealed how scammers convince judges to appoint them as legal guardians with minimal effort.

Also, as seen in I Care A Lot, emergency petitions allow people to quickly become guardians without the consent, input, or appearance of seniors in court.

The movie is only a Hollywood re-imagining, but can something like this happen to seniors with no nearby relatives?

The persuasive synopsis highlights unique ways that hustlers make money from abusing the finances of the elderly.

I Care A Lot,” although fictional, is not a far-fetched premise, and elder financial abuse is a widespread crime in America.

Estimated in 2019, it cost seniors about $2.9 billion.

About 10,000 people turn age 65 every day, and 4,000 seniors turn 85 daily. Additionally, people over 50 years and older control 70 percent of the country’s wealth.

As a result, schemes and scams will only get worse as baby boomers age.

Illegal activities and hustles that impact seniors include forged checks, stolen jewelry, email scams, credit card misuse, and identity theft.

Isolation is the bullseye for criminals who target and take advantage of seniors. However, more than strangers, family members are often the victimizers.

There is good news though, seniors can help protect themselves with the best assisted living choices.

RESIDENTIAL ASSISTED LIVING IS A SAFER MEANS OF QUALITY SENIOR CARE

In comparison to the big-box facilities, residential assisted living homes have more engaged owners, managers, and care staff who know their residents and their families more intimately.

Therefore, they are more able to see when something is amiss.

The successful RAL model proves that good people genuinely care about quality senior living.

Small, residential assisted living homeowners understand that there’s no value in attaining wealth and success if you end up hurting people along the way.

Instead, they help in more ways imaginable.

The journey starts with affordable, quality assisted living that prevents elder abuse and promotes health and happiness.

FIVE TYPES OF ELDER ABUSE

It is true, there are harmful elements in the senior living space. Anywhere there are people, there is the potential that some will try to take advantage of others. But, we focus on quality care where the senior’s health and well-being is first and foremost.

Here are the areas to look out for, where elder abuse most often happens:

1. Indicators of Physical Abuse

  • Unexplained burns, cuts, bruises, and bleeding
  • Sprained or broken bones
  • Injuries that happen over and over
  • The person doesn’t want to see a doctor about their wounds

2. Indicators of Sexual Abuse

  • Torn or bloody clothes, especially underwear
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Bruises, especially on both sides of the body or around the breasts or genitals
  • Bleeding from private areas

3. Indicators of Psychological Abuse

  • Act withdrawn or frightened
  • Have changes in their behavior that you can’t explain
  • Rock back and forth, mumble to themselves
  • Be depressed, confused, or lose interest in things they enjoyed
  • Have trouble sleeping

4. Indicators of Financial abuse

  • Withdrawals from bank accounts that your loved one can’t explain
  • A new “friend” who may be taking financial advantage of them
  • Legal documents that have been changed or disappeared
  • Missing financial statements
  • Unpaid bills, utilities, or threats of eviction
  • Seemingly forged signatures

5. Indicators of Neglect

  • They are messy or unclean. They might have dirty clothes, unkempt hair, or skin rashes.
  • They lose weight suddenly or aren’t hungry anymore.
  • Bedsores
  • Missing or broken dentures, eyeglasses, hearing aids, or walkers

WHAT TO DO IF YOU SUSPECT ELDER ABUSE

When an assisted living staff sees any of these indicators, they must immediately speak up. Some groups can step in to help seniors who are in danger.

First, try talking privately with the person you suspect is in trouble. If the problem isn’t urgent, contact Adult Protective Services in the state where they live or call 911.

If the circumstances involve finances, there are unique steps you can take.

Six Steps for Seniors’ Financial Safety

  1. Create a plan to protect your assets using a trustworthy beneficiary.
  2. Secure bank statements, checkbooks, and financial documents.
  3. Routinely review your credit report.
  4. Never provide personal data over the phone.
  5. Secure second opinions before signing documents.
  6. Consistently stay connected with family members.

It’s true, there is a dark side to some elements of senior living because there’s a human element involved.

There will always be opportunistic individuals waiting on the sidelines to take advantage of others, and this is why the Residential Assisted Living National Association is here to help.

RALNA RAISES AWARENESS TO STAY THE COURSE

The “I Care A Lot” Netflix movie is not about senior care; it’s about disgraceful scammers.

The residential assisted living industry is about working hard and playing fair to attain real success without jeopardizing quality or honesty.

This industry is uniquely different from the big box senior living options. Small care homes prioritize building intimate relationships with seniors and their families, as opposed to simply caring about the bottom line.

The health and happiness of seniors are the primary concerns in RAL homes – this is why residential assisted living industry leaders must be vigilant while staying the course.

Visit www.RALNA.com for a free membership and learn about all the advantages the association has to offer for quality senior care.

In addition to state chapters, weekly blogs, newsletters, group discount purchasing power, and legal support, the national association also has an advisory council on Alzheimer’s research. Unlike the fiction film “I Care A Lot,” the residential assisted living industry is working hard to ensure senior safety, independence, and quality care.

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