Due to several complaints of elder abuse from elderly caregivers in long term care facilities, a lot of families now resort to using surveillance cameras to help protect their loved ones. Based on the numerous counts of elder abuse discovered as a result of installing surveillance cameras, the actions of these families proved to be essential in ensuring the safety of the elderly population.
Just this year, family members of 96-year old Eryetha Mayberry installed a hidden camera in her room at Quail Creek Nursing and Rehabilitation Center (Oklahoma City) following suspicions that someone in the facility is stealing from her. The video revealed even worse; Mayberry was abused several times by the very person she depended for care. In one occasion, elderly caregiver Lucy Gakunga was seen shoving latex gloves into the patient’s mouth while her companion Caroline Kaseke watched. In another incident, Gakunga was seen compressing the patient’s torso causing the latter great pain. The video footage was so convincing that when the family filed a case against her, Gakunga immediately pleaded guilty.
Family members of 87-year old Modesta Alvarado also resorted to installing a hidden camera after suspecting that she is being abused by elderly caregivers of Harborage Nursing Home, a nursing home in Hudson County, New Jersey. The video confirmed their fears. In the video, nursing aide Julia Galvan was seen abusing Alvarado repeatedly. The abusive acts include verbal abuse, shoving and striking in the head.
Had it not been for cameras, the abuse would have gone on and these two families wouldn’t have a clue. However, despite the availability of numerous data that demonstrate the benefits of installing surveillance cameras in LTC residential facilities, only a few states in the US adopted laws that address this concern. For years, majority of term care service providers fought legislative efforts to legalize its usage citing reasons such as acquisition and maintenance costs, invasion of privacy and difficulty in recruiting elderly caregivers. For long term care advocates, their arguments are senseless.
Firstly, most family members of residents would readily shoulder the costs of buying and maintaining surveillance cameras if only to protect their loved ones, so LTC facilities can stop worrying about the financial aspect. Texas for example, one of the first few states that legalized the use of surveillance cameras in LTC facilities, permit family members to use the technology in monitoring their loved ones provided that they shoulder the expenses. Other states can do this too. Secondly, so long as the resident or his guardian authorizes the use of surveilance cameras, invasion of privacy should not concern LTC facilities. Thirdly, if an elderly caregiver has nothing to hide, he should not be worried about being monitored.
LTC residents and their families spend a great deal of money just so they can get the best level of care; they did not make financial sacrifices to wind up getting abused. Installing surveillance cameras can significantly help stop elder abuse. Knowing that someone is watching can certainly influence how elderly caregivers behave in the privacy of a resident’s room. Its usage must be legalized – we owe it to our elders.