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Rise in in-home care for elderly and disabled

As Illinois residents know, more disabled and elderly individuals are receiving home care instead of in a nursing care facility. This nationwide shift is largely a result of state economic pressures and the desire the elderly or disabled individuals to remain at home as opposed to living in an institution, according to sources.

The number of disabled and elderly living at home is growing and even surpassing the number of those institutionalized in some states. It may be difficult to assure that caregivers can provide for the elderly person's needs without appropriate training or supervision. Some families pay for caregivers to assist them during the day or to make a busy schedule easier.

Some states such as California allocate a substantial budget to pay relatives or others to provide care. Despite attempts to regulate caregivers, the overwhelming rise in at-home caregivers provides a daunting task to assure compliance with expected standards of care. In California, individuals convicted of crimes such as elder or child abuse are banned, yet those convicted of assault or robbery may be paid caregivers if they secure a state-issued waiver. Moreover, home caregivers are not required to have training in such routine things as caring for bedsores or overseeing medications.

Since the elderly or disabled may not be able to complain to authorities, failure to provide adequate care in the home setting may go undetected. Every effort is underway to initiate a supportive infrastructure, but it is not yet available. However, individuals who are subject to neglect or abuse from their caregivers may have legal options available. An attorney may be helpful in assisting a disabled or elderly person get the type of care they need.

Source: The Atlantic , "When Home Caregivers Kill the Elderly With Neglect", Anna Gorman, Jan. 6, 2015

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