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Jun 12, 2015 by |

Elder Abuse a Growing Issue in Sonoma County

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Elder abuse and neglect reports have significantly increased in Sonoma County over the past few years. According to a recent county report, they have increased by 70 percent over the past five years.

However, these wrongdoings frequently go unrectified as they are not acknowledged and/or legally addressed by the victims. It is estimated that only one in 23 elder abuse cases is reported. This is partially because elder abuse can be difficult to identify, as it can be perpetrated by a variety of individuals, and/or entities, and can occur in a variety of settings and types. Elder abuse includes psychological, mental and emotional abuse, and physical and sexual abuse, and can be committed in the form of both acts and omissions. In addition, elder abuse can be committed by family members, friends, caregivers, corporations, hospitals, nursing homes, and even professional fiduciaries.

Unfortunately, many victims of elder abuse do not report their circumstance because of a lack of information and resources. These victims are often ill-equipped to identify and charge their perpetrators, which is commonly a consequence of their isolation due to physical ailment and/or a lack in resources.

For example, the trustee of a senior’s trust or estate plan, or someone entrusted with managing the financial well-being of a senior, has substantial control with potentially minimal oversight in exercising that control over the senior’s financial well-being. Additionally, someone entrusted with giving every day care to the senior, and providing he or she with their requisite medications, has significant control over that senior’s health and physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. However, fifty percent of all elder abuse cases are based upon negligence, when either the victim is neglecting herself, with little or no familial oversight, or when the victim is neglected by a caregiver, both resulting in injury to the elderly person.

The reports that are submitted indicate an increase of initiative in acknowledging elder abuse when it is observed, and in notifying the authorities to seek legal retribution by the elderly population and those caring for them. To account for this increase in elder abuse reports, as well as the general growth in the elderly population, the County has employed additional personnel in the adult protective services department.

Evans Law Firm, Inc. has offices in Sonoma, as well as in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and handles all types of elder abuse cases. If you or a loved one has an elder abuse claim, please contact Evans Law Firm, Inc. at 415-441-8669, or via email at info@evanslaw.com.

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