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Elder abuse may rise as population ages

As baby boomers age, nursing homes in New Mexico and across the United States are reaching capacity. This may mean that many nursing homes are understaffed and that managers don't have the time to properly train staff. Experts believe that this may be the reason there has been an increase in elder abuse cases in nursing homes.

One problem may be that states aren't providing enough funding to nursing homes. The state is responsible for providing funding for Medicare- and Medicaid-funded nursing homes. Almost all nursing homes in New Mexico are contracted providers with Medicare and Medicaid. Because of the increase in nursing home residents, facilities may not be receiving the necessary funding, causing staffing shortages.

These staffing shortages may cause a number of types of mental, verbal and physical abuse. Lack of funding may lead to residents not receiving medications on time and other supplies that they need. In 2018, New Mexico was listed as having the most serious deficiencies in nursing homes. State authorities say that steps must be taken to prevent abuse from occurring. The consequences of abuse may result in funds being pulled or nursing homes being shut down. Experts say that caring for the elderly needs to be a priority among lawmakers to prevent abuse and deficiencies from occurring.

By 2030, New Mexico will have the fourth-largest population in the country of seniors over the age of 65. Unfortunately, this may mean that elder abuse could rise. Nursing homes have the responsibility to ensure that seniors receive the proper treatment and care. When they don't, serious action must be taken to stop the abuse. For example, a nursing home that was understaffed may have a resident die because medications weren't administered on time. A civil suit might be filed against the nursing home on behalf of the family.

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