Virginia Public Radio: “On Elder Abuse and Signs of Neglect”

This morning Virginia Public Radio hosted a 1 hour show on Financial Abuse of Virginia’s Elderly population.

The show will be available online next week, and we will certainly share it with you when it is available.

Callers from across the Commonwealth shared stories where loved ones, neighbors and friends had been taken advantage of by other relatives, home health workers, medical providers, friends and sometimes even strangers.

I shared a personal story on the air about a home health aid that attempted to take money from my mother after gaining access to personal information. Turns out the home health aid had a significant criminal history which was un-detected by the home health agency because her convictions were in other states.

Elder abuse and neglect is very real in Virginia. The panelists on today’s show stated over 20,000 reports a year of abuse are made to local agencies and state employees suspect only 20% of the abuse is actually being reported. That means 100,000  incidents a year.

And I don’t just mean financial abuse, which is of course despicable. I mean physical abuse. Our grandparents hit, assaulted, bruised, neglected, over medicated, left alone in health care facilities too understaffed to provide the care and time our loved ones require and deserve.

Right now in Virginia there is no legal requirement for number of nurses in a nursing home. The code requires “sufficient” staffing. Is 1 CNA for 15 patients sufficient? Not when 15 patients cant eat, walk, bathe or turn over by themselves. Is 1 doctor per 160 patients sufficient? Not when the doctor only comes 1 a month to see each patient for Medicare purposes. Is it sufficient for your loved one to get a bath only once a month? And a sponge bath 1 a week? ‘

Elder abuse in Virginia is sometimes intentional. But often times, it is not – rather a product of an industry where few are asked to care for many.

Do you know of a story that is worth telling about elder abuse or neglect? Comment on our blog.



Lauren Ellerman

Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at