Nursing Home Bill of Rights Important as Silver Tsunami Approaches

As Silver Tsunami Approaches, Understanding Nursing Home Residents’ Rights is Important

silver tsunamiSpecific areas of the United States are seen as ideal retirement destinations, including South Carolina. As the Baby Boomer generation ages into retirement, and faces health problems associated with old age, many hope to move to warmer or more temperate environments to make the last years of their lives more enjoyable. This influx of senior citizens is referred to as the Silver Tsunami,” and many states like South Carolina do not have the health care infrastructure to handle the coming storm.

According to one report, South Carolina’s senior citizen population is set to double by 2030, as both current residents age, and some Baby Boomers move into the state.

“The question becomes, ‘Does the state have the ability to double their capacity to double services?’” said Tony Kester, director at the S.C. Lt. Governor’s Office on Aging. Kester said that currently, 950,000 seniors currently in South Carolina. “Absolutely there is no availability to meet that need. The numbers are just too great.”

The US Department of Health and Human Services Administration of the Aging estimates that South Carolina has one of the fastest growing senior citizen populations in the country, and by 2030, about 22% of the state’s population, or 1.13 million people, will be elderly. That means they will need Medicaid, Medicare, hospice, palliative care, nursing homes, long-term nursing facilities, skilled nursing facilities, and caregiving agencies to help them as they age.

“Demographically, there’s about 10,000 people (nationally) turning 65 every day, so what we’re seeing is of course the baby boomer generation,” said Bob Benson, director of the retirement community Rolling Green Village. “With that, the whole field is changing not only because of the sheer numbers, but because of the expectations and desires of this new generation are changing.”

South Carolina also boasts a higher-than-average health care need among senior citizens because of chronic health problems in life, including high rates of smoking and obesity among the aging. Further, 1 out of every 11 senior citizens is at risk of hunger and malnutrition, making it one of the top 10 insecure states senior citizens to live.

In 2010, South Carolina had only 186 nursing homes, with 19,000 beds total. Of those beds, 91% at the time were occupied. That was almost five years ago.

“We can’t have a fully functional long-term care system without a robust institutional component, but at the same time not everybody’s needs are going to be met in an institutional setting,” said S.C. Institute of Medicine and Public Health Director of Operations Lee Pearson.

Nursing Home Residents and Senior Citizens Have Rights Determined by the SC Omnibus Adult Protection Act

As SC faces the silver tsunami, it is more important than ever for family members and caregivers to know the state’s rules, regulations, and laws regarding senior citizens, caregiving agencies, and nursing homes.

The Omnibus Act includes many protections for senior citizens, whether or not they are nursing home residents, including the right to file criminal abuse charges with the Vulnerable Adults Investigations Unit of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, and have non-criminal abuse charges investigated by the Adult Protective Services Program in the Department of Social Services. All nursing home or assisted living facility residents have the right to their personal property, as well as the right to help applying for Medicare or Medicaid services to help pay for their stay at a nursing home or skilled nursing facility, and they cannot be asked to leave because they use these services.

Most importantly, long-term, nursing home, and assisted living facility residents have the right to see family members, caregivers, ombudsmen, or legal representatives. These people can help monitor the senior citizen for signs of physical, mental, sexual, or financial abuse.

The Strom Law Defends Victims of South Carolina Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

If your loved one has physically suffered, or died wrongfully, due to neglect or abuse in a nursing home, you may have a nursing home abuse case. The South Carolina Nursing Home attorneys at the Strom Law Firm understand the sensitive nature of elder abuse cases, and will treat you with respect and compassion. It is important to fight elder abuse so you, your family, and others no longer suffer because of criminal behavior. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case. Contact us today for help. 803.252.4800

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