Another Caretaker Caught Abusing the Elderly

A caregiver was just sentenced to more than one year behind bars following a guilty plea on various counts of abuse or neglect of an adult in her care.

Shelia D. Beard, 48, was sentenced by a Virginia Beach Circuit Court judge after entering a so-called “Alford plea on felony and misdemeanor counts of abuse or neglect of an incapacitated adult.” This means, explained The Virginian-Pilot, that Beard did not admit guilt but did admit that sufficient evidence existed to convict her.

Beard was indicted in July 2011 for the way in which she treated Selma Cardon Bennett, who was 94 at the time of her death in 2012. Beard, said The Pilot, spent some five years caring for Cardon Bennett, who was suffering from dementia and living in a private home-care facility. The facility suspect there was an issue with Beard’s care of Cardon Bennett and installed hidden cameras.

The horrific footage showed Beard punching, slapping, and taunting Cardon Bennett, said The Pilot.

We have long written about the growing issue of elder abuse in nursing homes. While nursing home abuse makes headlines on an ongoing basis, the headlines this deplorable practice has garnered have not slowed news of elder abuse.

With the senior population expanding and living longer and with the elderly counted among our most vulnerable citizens, concern for the care of this country’s seniors is significantly important and relevant. More and more, people find themselves faced with the challenging decision of placing older relatives and loved ones in nursing homes.

Sadly, those seeking care of elderly family members are often left with very limited options, a scary prospect in today’s environment in which reports of nursing home abuse continue to rise. Abuse is devastating indignity that attacks these defenseless members of society on all levels and encompasses physical, emotional, chemical, financial, medical, and sexual maltreatment. Not just abuse, but also neglect, mocking, and even workers who have harmed residents as part of pranks against each other are becoming more and more commonplace.

Some 5.2 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease today and, by 2025, that number could reach 7.1 million, the Alzheimer’s Association reports, wrote The Pilot. Meanwhile, a 2001 Congressional revealed that nearly one out of every three United States nursing homes were cited for at least one abuse violation over a two-year period. “In over 1,600 of these nursing homes, the abuse violations were serious enough to cause actual harm to residents or to place the residents in immediate jeopardy of death or serious injury,” the report stated.

We have written about a number of nursing home neglect lawsuits that the national law firm, Parker Waichman LLP, has filed against a number of facilities on behalf of residents who have suffered severe, sometimes permanent, injuries. Parker Waichman has long been dedicated to protecting the rights of nursing home abuse and negligence victims and has, among other measures to protect this vulnerable demographic, prepared a number of video blogs, such as this one.

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