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A Los Angeles Elder Law Firm Dedicated to Protecting Seniors
Various state and federal laws were created to protect the most vulnerable among us. One of the fastest-growing segments of the population of vulnerable individuals is seniors, and nowhere is it growing faster than in California. By the year 2026, experts estimate that the number of Californians over the age of 65 will increase by 2.1 million — the largest increase in the country. As this population grows, we must be vigilant to protect the seniors in our midst from elder abuse and hold the perpetrators accountable.
The Los Angeles elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. have many years of experience representing seniors and their loved ones whenever they face are abused or suffer neglect.
Physical Elder Abuse and Neglect
Physical elder abuse and neglect are two common risks that elders in L.A. and throughout California face. This is primarily because they seniors often rely on others to help them with some or all of their daily living activities. This puts them in a vulnerable position, and unfortunately, some caregivers and others may take advantage of their that vulnerability.
Physical elder abuse generally consists of actions that intentionally cause physical harm to the victim, such as hitting, scratching, or biting the victim; kicking or shoving the victim; over- or under-medicating the victim; the use of physical restraints; and sexually assaulting the victim. Neglect, by contrast, is may be an unintentional behavior. (Though neglect can be intentional too.) It Intentional or unintentional, neglect occurs when a caretaker fails to provide the victim with the appropriate care they need, such as failing to give the victim food or water, turning a bedridden patient to avoid pressure wounds/bed sores, failing to adequately bathe and clothe the victim, or ignoring the victim’s requests for assistance.
These forms of abuse and neglect can occur in a wide variety of settings, including the victim’s home, their caregiver’s home, at medical facilities (particularly nursing homes), or in social settings. Likewise, anyone can commit elder abuse, no matter how trustworthy they seem, including family members, friends, medical professionals, members of the clergy, and social workers. Friends and family members must thus monitor their loved ones for any signs of abuse or neglect, which can include:
- Cuts, scrapes, or bruises
- Sprained or fractured bones
- Pressure wounds or ulcers/bed sores
- Repeated injuries of the same type
- Weight loss
- Poor personal hygiene
- Untidy or unsanitary living quarters
- Vaginal or rectal bleeding
- A decline in cognitive abilities
- Reluctance to discuss injuries
- Changes in personality or temperament
Any form of elder abuse or neglect that causes physical injury can have devastating impacts on the victim’s health and quality of life due to their frailty. If you suspect that someone you care about may be the victim of elder abuse, you should act swiftly to investigate and prevent further harm. Please contact our Los Angeles elder abuse attorneys to get started.
Financial Elder Abuse
Financial elder abuse is also a serious threat for seniors, primarily partly because aging is expensive and it also means a senior is increasingly dependent on others exposing their financial matters to wandering eyes. The care that many seniors require, such as frequent doctor visits, in-home health care, physical therapy, medication, skilled nursing facilities, etc., can cost enormous sums. It also may bring strangers like caregivers into the home. As a result, many seniors, both ways – strangers coming into their lives when they are most vulnerable and most in need of every dime they have saved. Costs particularly effect those who have lower incomes, who live on shoestring budgets and cannot stand to lose any money to theft or manipulation.
Financial Generally, financial elder abuse occurs where the perpetrator takes advantage of the victim to derive a financial gain. The most simple form is outright stealing, such as stealing the victim’s cash, credit cards, checks, or personal effects. More sophisticated perpetrators of financial elder abuse prey upon their victims’ diminished mental capacities through various schemes, such as securities fraud, insurance fraud, and pyramid schemes. It can also involve identity theft, wherein when the perpetrator uses the victim’s personal information to apply for loans or other financial products.
Unlike physical abuse, financial elder abuse does not leave the victim with outward signs of abuse. Too often, it comes to light only after the damage has been done. However, there are a few warning signs that financial elder abuse is occurring, including:
- Unexplained withdrawals from the victim’s accounts
- Unpaid bills and collection letters
- Sudden drops in the victim’s credit score
- Missing possessions
- A decline in the victim’s standard of living
- Increased or unusual use of credit cards
- The presence of a new “friend” who takes an unusual interest in the victim’s finances
This type of abuse can have severe consequences for the victim; in extreme cases, the victim could lose their home or ability to afford a skilled nursing facility.
Dealing With Nursing Home Abuse in Los Angeles
Nursing home abuse is any form of elder abuse that occurs inside a Los Angeles-area nursing home or other assisted living facility in California, including physical abuse and neglect and financial abuse. It can be particularly insidious because it is often more difficult to detect than abuse that occurs outside a nursing home setting. Nursing home staff have an extraordinary degree of control over residents and often engage in abuse behind closed doors and away from prying eyes.
Because friends and family of nursing home residents cannot monitor their activity around the clock, they must instead rely on circumstantial evidence to determine that nursing home abuse is occurring. In addition to the other signs noted above, a few common red flags that nursing home abuse or neglect may be occurring include:
- An air of chaos in the facility
- High staff turnover rate
- Unsafe environmental conditions (e.g., slippery floors, bad lighting, general mess, etc.)
- A history of citations against the facility
- Staff who are reluctant to allow the victim to see friends and family members
- Reluctance by the victim to speak to others in the presence of certain members of staff
In most cases, complaints about a loved one’s care in a nursing home can be resolved with the facility’s management. However, lodging a formal complaint with the California Department of Public Health or hiring a skilled Los Angeles nursing home abuse attorney may be necessary for more severe incidents.
Contact Our Los Angeles Elder Abuse Attorneys for More Information
If you believe someone you care about is suffering from elder abuse, including physical abuse and neglect, financial elder abuse, or nursing home abuse, you should act swiftly to prevent injury or financial loss. For more information about elder abuse, please contact the Los Angeles elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm by filling out our online form or calling us at 888-50EVANS.