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Illinois adds cameras to tools fighting elder abuse

Elder abuse is a shockingly common crime. It's probably not that surprising that seniors can fall victim easily since many of them are physically or mentally infirm. That makes them easy targets for everything from physical and sexual abuse to financial exploitation.

Unfortunately, even when police or other authorities are aware that elder abuse might be occurring, it can be difficult to make a case against the abusers that will hold up in court. The victims are often unable to give clear, coherent testimony about precisely what was done to them. Some may not even be aware that they've been victimized.

Without witnesses or other hard evidence, it's hard to convince a prosecutor to take a case to court and harder to get a jury to convict. These problems can allow the worst types of criminals to flourish among his or her elderly victims.

To combat the issue, some states are now allowing cameras in nursing homes. Illinois is among them.

Unfortunately, the nursing homes themselves may not be on board with the idea. This can make it harder to use a camera to protect a loved one than it should be in this day and age.

It seems strange that in a world where just about everyone -- except possibly the residents of the nursing homes themselves -- has a smartphone with a camera on it right at hand that workers would object to having cameras on them while they do their jobs. However, workers say that a camera affects their right to privacy.

If you have a loved one in a nursing home in Illinois, you should know that the law allows monitoring systems to protect the elderly. If you suspect nursing home abuse, you have a right to install a monitoring system without fear of retaliation. If you do experience push-back or retaliation, you should seek legal advice about the situation.

Source: The Journal Times, "Concerned about elder abuse, states loan out secret cameras," Todd Richmond, June 03, 2018

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