By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The sign on the grounds of the Springfield Retirement Community – the fictional home of Grandpa Simpson in the animated show The Simpsons reads “Where the Elderly can hide from the inevitable.” But other than humor, there are laws in your arsenal that are a defense against harm that can occur at long term care facilities.

When Rose Monda completed the 5k race in 49 minutes, she set the record for her age category: the 90-94 year olds at the National Senior Olympics. And while running that far at any age seems like self-imposed abuse, there is tragically other abuse that happens to seniors that is not of their doing, and federal law protects those in long term care.

Under the federal Older Americans Act, every state is required to have an Ombudsman Program that addresses complaints and advocates for improvements in the long term care system. An Ombudsman is an advocate of residents of nursing homes, board and care homes, and assisted living facilities. They provide information about how to find a facility and what to do to get quality care, and to resolve problems or take complaints.

You can find your state’s Ombudsman Program at

Even if you can’t run a 5k as fast as Ms. Monda, you can go a long way to prevent abuse and find the care you need.

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