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San Mateo County Elder Abuse Lawyers Discuss Caregiver Abuse

According to AARP, approximately 10 million adults aged 65 and older receive care at home or in residential settings other than nursing homes. Because the number of elderly Americans is expected to skyrocket from 40 million to 70 million by 2030, the number of seniors receiving care at home is expected to grow exponentially in upcoming years.

Unfortunately, seniors who receive care at home are especially vulnerable because caregiver abuse is common and there’s often no one around to help a senior who is being victimized by a caretaker in a private household. San Mateo County elder abuse lawyers can provide representation in circumstances where a senior is victimized by a caretaker.

Caregiver Abuse Can Have a Detrimental Impact on Seniors

AARP warns that around one in 10 Americans aged 60 or over has experienced some type of elder abuse, with caregiver abuse especially common. Caregiver abuse can occur when family members provide care, or when a senior is victimized by home health aides who come to the home and provide services. 

This abuse can take many forms. In one case reported by AARP, a caretaker hired to help with a 91-year-old cancer victim receiving home hospice care ended up stealing $600,000 in assets. Subsequently, the 91-year-old and her 88-year-old husband disappeared. In another, a home health aide rationed the food and water being provided to an older woman with multiple sclerosis so that the caregiver wouldn’t have to take the woman to the bathroom. This ultimately led to the hospitalization of the patient with bedsores down to the bone, which led to her death.

These are merely two egregious examples of caregiver abuse.  Unfortunately, there are no federal regulations covering home health aides with the exception of broad Medicaid standards, and only 15 states mandate that care agencies conduct periodic in-home reviews to ensure home health workers are actually doing their jobs.

Many home healthcare agencies don’t conduct criminal background checks on home health aide hires, as many states don’t require this. And, an older study found fewer than a third of home healthcare agencies screened employees for using illegal drugs. An even smaller percent – just 16 percent of agencies total – screened workers to determine if they actually know anything about providing care.

Many agencies charge patients and their families at least $50 per hour but pay minimum wage or small salaries and don’t invest money in training, education, or supervision. In fact, as many as one in four home care workers have been found to live below the federal poverty level and the median wage paid to home health workers is just $9.61 per hour. Low wages and limited training can result in inexperienced caregivers providing aid to vulnerable seniors.

When a caretaker physically or financially abuses a senior, or fails to provide an appropriate level of care, the senior could experience serious harm and, in some cases, fatal injury. The San Mateo County elder abuse lawyer at Evans Law Firm can offer assistance to seniors and their families when caregivers engage in abusive behavior. Contact Evans Law Firm online or call 415-441-8669 for a free initial consultation today.

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