According to research by ProPublica, a horrifying trend has invaded homes throughout the nation. Workers in nursing homes have begun posting humiliating and dehumanizing photos of senior residents on various social media networks. ProPublica has discovered at least 35 instances since 2012 where nursing home workers shared embarrassing photos of vulnerable residents who were either partially or fully naked, and 16 of these photos were shared on Snapchat alone. Snapchat is a social media site that enables users to post pictures for a short period of time that later disappear without record of their existence.
While these sickening instances reveal an emerging threat that social media has on public privacy and dignity, it is important to remember that without social media, such actions may have gone undetected. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is nothing new. Accusations of sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and even over sedating nursing home residents have occurred throughout the country over the years. The report reveals, however, that nursing home residents are not only being severely abused, but the disturbing abuse is now being displayed on social media for the world to watch. While this type of abuse is a disturbing trend that has only recently emerged, it is a sickening one that needs to be stopped.
In one of the instances, a Snapchat video shows an elderly woman using a portable bedside toilet with her pants around her legs while abusive workers poked fun at her. In another instance, Illinois nursing home workers repeatedly slapped a 97 year old dementia patient across her face with a nylon strap as she cried out for them to stop. A nursing assistant in Ohio created videos of residents saying “I’m in love with the coco” (gangster slang for cocaine) as another employee held up a banner saying she “trained these hoes”.
Such abusive actions are horrifying to family members who placed their loved ones in residential care facilities in order to ensure that they received the proper care in a safe environment during their last years. It is shocking that such inhumane individuals exist, and even more alarming that they would be employed to provide care to our nation’s most vulnerable members. Fortunately, many instances like these have been reported to authorities and have led to criminal charges against the nursing home workers.