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Elder abuse on the campaign trail

The Illinois Republican race for governor is heating up, and a new ad appears to be causing Republican candidate Bruce Rauner to drop in the polls. It doesn’t attack his policies or character, but attacks nursing homes in which his private equity firm invested. I can’t speak to the explosive allegations that the homes were poorly managed (Rauner’s spokesman says he had nothing to do with the management of the nursing home company when the allegations occurred). But many nursing homes are bastions of elder abuse and neglect and need to be shaken up and turned around.

Abuse or neglect of an elder by a trusted caregiver is a growing problem in the United States. In one study, up to 10 percent of seniors were victims of elder abuse and another noted that only 1 of 14 cases of elder abuse is reported to the authorities. Furthermore, elders who are abused are two times more likely to be hospitalized, four times more likely to be placed in a nursing home, and three times more likely to die when compared with their non-abused peers. And this is just the beginning.