A Forest Park senior support agency recently reopened. On January 10th, West Suburban Senior Services (WSSS) once again began providing services to elderly community members in need of a break from their caregiver responsibilities. According to WSSS Director Janet Ogle, the organization’s goal is to provide free support and mental health services for seniors who are faced with caring for a disabled loved one. WSSS also offers temporary substitute caregivers, assistance with household chores, and help making a short-term nursing home placement.
A variety of support group meetings will reportedly be held at the agency’s Forest Park location. Caregiver Specialist Fernanda Unger said many seniors who care for family members become isolated and may feel guilty for taking time away from their caregiver responsibilities. In addition, many elderly caregivers have health problems of their own. The support groups were designed to allow area seniors to provide one another with both encouragement and advice.
In addition to other services, the WSSS has also created a new Elder Abuse Forensic Center. According to the new center’s Director, Tara Pink, the goal is to create a resource for the investigation and prosecution of all types of senior citizen abuse. The Elder Abuse Forensic Center was reportedly modeled after a similar organization that is currently operating in California. Pink stated elder abuse and financial embezzlement experts will volunteer their time and resources in order to assist the new center in achieving its goal of providing senior abuse resources for law enforcement officers, medical providers, and Illinois officials.
Pink said elder abuse may include emotional abuse, financial misappropriation, withholding of food or medicine, physical or sexual abuse, and passive neglect. She added that such abuse is extremely common, too often goes unnoticed, and is not prosecuted in many cases. Because of this, the Elder Abuse Forensic Center will reportedly hold workshops designed to show law enforcement officers how to recognize the signs of senior citizen abuse.
Unfortunately, the elderly and disabled are not only placed at risk of abuse or neglect when family members who are stressed or spread too thin care for them. Many families in Illinois turn to skilled nursing facilities for temporary or permanent elder care assistance. Regrettably, it is often difficult to monitor the care your loved one is receiving in such an environment. Federal standards require that certified nursing homes, those that receive federal Medicaid or Medicare funds, maintain each resident at the same level of health he or she enjoyed upon entering a long-term care facility. If a resident’s condition worsens, the nursing home must work to restore the resident to their original condition. Sadly, the neglect or abuse of a skilled nursing facility resident can have irreversible consequences.
If you believe your elderly friend or family member was neglected or abused by a caregiver at an Illinois nursing home, you should contact the knowledgeable lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. Our hardworking Chicago area nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week to help you protect the rights of your elderly or disabled loved ones. For a free consultation with a quality advocate, please give Abels & Annes, P.C. a call at (312) 475-9596.
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Senior help agency returns to Forest Park, by Jean Lotus, Forest Park Review