Due to the alarming prevalence of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation throughout the country, most states, including Illinois, have enacted laws and created programs to protect senior citizens. In many states, the abuse of an elderly person of any kind is considered a crime. In addition to potential criminal consequences, those convicted of nursing home abuse or any other abuse of an elder can often be held liable in civil cases.
When elderly citizens or their family members believe that abuse is taking place, one of the first steps to take is to make a report to the state's adult protective services division. In Illinois, this is a division of the Illinois Department on Aging. This agency will work with the authorities to investigate the allegations and work with the family to determine the best course of action to ensure the victim's physical safety and well-being.
When the agency and police find that the allegations are valid, they will work with the victim to provide them any necessary services, such as counseling, transportation, medical assistance, and money management assistance. They will also help settle the victim into a different residential setting. In Illinois, seniors have additional benefits such as assistance with legal support and fees and many other forms of advocacy in order to ensure the issues are resolved.
While state programs and assistance for people experiencing nursing home abuse vary in organization and scope, they all generally have the ability to assist a victim and place him or her in a better living situation. Most victims of elder abuse in Illinois choose to contact an attorney to review the options. Based on the facts of a person's case, an attorney experienced in nursing home abuse litigation will be able to determine the best way to seek reparation for the abuse that he or she has experienced.
Source: FindLaw, "Statutory Protection of Older Persons", Nov. 16, 2016