Are Senior Citizens Safe?

Carthage, North Carolina
Carthage, North Carolina

This weekend's shooting spree at the senior-care facility in Carthage, N.C. has me concerned: Senior facilities are frighteningly unsafe. You can walk into the AIG headquarters and front-desk security will swab your cheek and test your DNA to protect those thieves. But a home for older Americans and the people in it are on their own.

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My maternal grandmother lived in an independent-living facility in the quiet and wooded Cincinnati suburb of Forest Park, Ohio.  However, there was no security at the entrance, and anyone could walk in and burglarize them — or worse.  My paternal grandmother, an Alzheimer's patient, lived in a nursing home nestled deep in the beauty of Clifton, a gas-light community near the University of Cincinnati.  Again, there was no entrance security or locked doors or front-desk reception.  Anyone could walk in and do harm to nearly 50 defenseless senior citizens, some who couldn't see, walk or recall their first names.

I'm not saying all senior facilities are vulnerable, but too many of them are sitting ducks.  It's bad enough families have to worry about unqualified and/or uncaring attendants who often neglect their loved ones, but to worry that someone could walk through an electric door and do harm is unacceptable.  A law should be passed that requires all senior-citizen facilities, no matter the neighborhood, be secured with qualified personnel and state-of-the-art security systems.

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Keith Josef Adkins is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and social commentator.

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