Legal Representation for Victims of Elder and Nursing Home Neglect
It’s a difficult decision for every family: knowing when to move an elderly relative into a senior care facility.
And what’s even worse is knowing that our loved ones may be at risk of abuse from the people charged with caring for them. The unfortunate truth is that elder abuse can happen anywhere‚ despite tough laws in California protecting against it. And many cases go unreported or unprosecuted.
What Constitutes Elder Abuse?
The abuse of senior citizens can take many forms. In general‚ it is any mistreatment that results in any kind of trauma or deprivation to an elderly person. It usually falls under one of the following categories:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional or psychological abuse
- Financial abuse
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‚ hundreds of thousands of senior citizens are abused‚ neglected‚ or financially exploited every year. The CDC estimates that one out of every ten people 60 or older who lives at home is the victim of abuse. Studies have also shown that 36% of nursing homes in the United States have been found guilty of elder abuse. And because many more cases go unreported‚ due to victims being either unable or unwilling to talk about it‚ the actual figures are likely much higher.
What Are the Signs of Elder Abuse?
Because there are so many varieties of abuse‚ the symptoms that indicate something is wrong can vary. This often makes detecting abuse very difficult.
For physical abuse and neglect‚ the signs include bruises‚ weight loss‚ malnutrition‚ bed sores‚ or dehydration. Often‚ abuse will be made to look like the victim suffered a fall. Unexplained injuries or injuries that keep repeating are often an indicator‚ as is a refusal to see a doctor after being hurt.
The victims might also be overmedicated to help mask the signs of abuse. The victim might suffer from mood swings‚ anger‚ depression‚ and other emotional problems as a result of the abuse. If you notice any sudden or unexplained changes in your loved one’s behavior‚ dig deeper and find out why.
What About Financial Abuse?
The financial abuse of elders is an entire category of its own. Senior citizens‚ especially those who have diminished mental faculties‚ are especially vulnerable to this form of mistreatment. They can be exploited by their family members‚ caregivers‚ lawyers‚ accountants‚ or friends. The elderly are also the targets of many scams from complete strangers.
Financial abuse costs older Americans as much as 2.6 billion dollars annually. Examples include insurance fraud‚ exorbitant funeral costs‚ theft‚ misappropriated funds‚ and power of attorney fraud. Common scams include posing as a loved one in financial need‚ selling fake products or overcharging for products the person doesn’t need‚ and fake lottery winnings.
Of course‚ while such fraudulence from strangers is deplorable‚ it’s even worse when the abuse is perpetrated by someone that the victim trusts. This is why California has stiff penalties for these kinds of crimes.
What Can Be Done About Elder Abuse?
The injuries and losses that come with abuse can be extremely traumatic for the victims and their families. Abuse can result in the loss of a home and life savings‚ endangered health‚ emotional pain‚ and the loss of dignity. In the worst cases‚ death is the result. Victims who do survive abuse have shorter life expectancies than those who are not abused.
If you see or suspect abuse‚ report it to San Diego County’s Adult Protective Services agency.
If your loved one has been the victim of abuse‚ you need to do more than just report it. You need justice. The Carlsbad personal injury attorneys at Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers have the experience and resources to advocate on behalf of seniors and their families and ensure they are fully compensated for any abuse they’ve suffered. Call (888) 233-5020 to speak with one of our friendly representatives and schedule a free consultation.