STAUNTON, Va -- Three people have already been arrested for abuse-related charges at a Staunton nursing home this month. Anthony Johnson is a former caretaker at Envoy and he is accused of sexually assaulting two residents there. Two other employees are charged for not reporting that abuse.
Not reporting elder abuse is one of the biggest challenges to fighting this type of abuse.
Mary McLear is a Staunton Senior Center visitor and she has visited the center for the past year for friendship and fun.
“I come here thinking that I would be able to be with people and do things. It's really been good for me,” said McLear.
Some people in nursing facilities around the Valley have faced elder abuse and that has the director of the center, Lynn Harris, worried.
“It's very sad. It's very sad,” said Harris. “And it's disturbing to know how often, when you finally find out how often this does happen, it's really, really disturbing.”
Harris said some people think it is easy to take advantage of older people. She suggested taking a tour and doing research if you need to choose a facility.
McLear has several friends in nursing care in the Valley. She has never had a friend abused, but she thinks about what could happen.
“I don't know how I would feel,” said McLear. “You don't really know how you'd feel about something like that until it happens, but I wouldn't want them to be abused.”
Experts can come talk to people, about topics like elder abuse, at the Staunton Senior Center. That includes things like physical abuse, but also goes beyond that to include financial abuse and emotional abuse.
McLear hopes no one she knows ever ends up being in an elder abuse situation.
“It's a shame, because if you have family that someday, or maybe myself, that's going to be in a senior home, you kind of hesitate at putting them in a place where they've had trouble like that.”
The best way to prevent elder abuse is to remember three r's:
If you see abuse, report it immediately and educate others about how to recognize the signs.
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