PBS, in partnership with ProPublica, sent A.C.Thompson, Jonathan Jones and Carl Byker on a 14 month mission to research complaints and lawsuits against Emeritus, the largest chain of assisted living facilities in the U.S. Last week’s Frontline’s program, “Life and Death in Assisted Living Facilities”, exposed a stunning and heartbreaking story of neglect and abuse experienced by residents in the assisted living facilities owned by Emeritus.
The reporters research included visits to seven states and Washington D.C. They investigated the details of more than 100 lawsuits that were filed against Emeritus during the last ten years. They examined five years’ worth of state inspection records, which included thousands of pages of documents regarding the company’s facilities in California, Texas, Ohio, Iowa, Mississippi and Georgia, and then they posed the question, “Is this loosely regulated, multi-billion dollar industry putting seniors at risk?”
If you watched the program, you probably went to bed with a sick stomach and an aching heart, and you may be feeling angry toward every long-term care community in the U.S. But lumping them together, and assuming that they are all equally neglectful and unethical would be a mistake.
Fortunately, only a fraction of the assisted living facilities in America are owned and run by Emeritus. Otherwise, all of us would be in serious trouble. The good news is, that although the people in the top leadership positions at Emeritus have obviously served their bottom line and Wall Street rather than their residents, not all facilities operate in a similar fashion.
Join us as we visit with Dr. Larry Minnix, CEO of LeadingAge, an association that is made up of 6,000 not-for-profit organizations in the United States. This association has 39 state partners, hundreds of businesses, research partners, consumer organizations, foundations and a broad global network of aging services organizations that reach over 30 countries and touch the lives of four million individuals every day. We talk about what happens when an organization focuses on the bottom line rather than their residents. We talk about what needs to change within the assisted living industry, and how to determine if your loved one is safe and getting the level of care (s)he deserves.
And finally, if you are struggling with the emotional stress of caregiving, be sure to visit CaregiverHelp.com, our video-based caregiver support program where you’ll find help coping with your anger, guilt depression and grief. We also provide information on understanding and managing dementia-related challenges behaviors, along with a framework for developing your own personal self-care plan. You can sample the entire guilt module, and if you like what you see, you can sign up for a free one-week trial membership. And, as always, if you have a question you’d like to ask, a story you’d like to share, or a rant you’d like to get off your chest, connect with me on Facebook or send me email. I’ll do my best to respond.
This digital short is based on a true caregiving story. If you need a laugh, watch it now. If you think it’s funny, tell everyone you know. And if you think Claudia’s plan makes sense, please visit our website, CaregiverHelp.com.