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Jul 2, 2015 by |

High-Profile Elder Abuse Cases Shed Light on Growing Issue

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Several recent high-profile stories show that elder abuse between family members is a current and widespread issue, according to San Francisco physical elder abuse lawyers. According to the National Institute of Justice, one in ten seniors would be a victim of abuse every year. Caregiving can become a way to get money from seniors, and the price of negligence can be tragic.

Jean Kasem, spouse of American Top 40 DJ Casey Kasem for 34 years, escaped from criminal charges of elder abuse launched by her stepchildren when the LA County District Attorney found insufficient evidence. Kasem suffered from Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia for many years before his death last year. Jean Kasem was accused of preventing his children from seeing him, and made her husband move from a convalescent home in Los Angeles without doctor’s consent. Physicians reported that he suffered from a very high stage of bedsores and urinary tract infection. One of Mr. Casey’s children accused Jean of negligence, but it could not be proved that this contributed to his death.

Linda Maureen Raye was accused of, and pleaded guilty to, murdering her mother. After being homeless, she decided to take her mother out of a nursing home to care for her in a small apartment, using her mother’s Social Security income to live. She neglected her mother’s health and refused to bring her professional nursing care, which police and court records say contributed to bedsores leading to septic shock.

Raye also collected $900 a month from California’s In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program, which provides funds to low-income seniors to hire a family member as a caregiver. She was sentenced to 11 years prison.

These two situations have many differences, but the result is the same– negligence of a seniors leading to his or her death. The growing elder population makes the number of family caregivers increase daily. Unfortunately, some of them do not play their role properly and cannot bear the weight of taking care of their relatives. San Francisco physical elder abuse lawyers say that some caregivers may feel pressured into their role, which can lead to stress and depression, and play a role in future abuse.

Elder abuse is defined by the National Center on Elder Abuse as “series of intentional actions that cause harm or create a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable senior”. Older women are more likely to be victims than older men are. National Adult Protective Services agencies notice that there is an increase of elder abuse, but many cases remain unreported to the authorities, which restrains their actions and the protection of seniors. Often, elder abuse goes unreported because the caregiver is the abuser.

Elder abuse is committed everywhere, but the main place where it occurs is inside the family circle, whatever the social background is. Many caregivers have a lack of formation regarding nursing, medical or wound care. Some organizations such as Alzheimer’s Association, Family Caregiver Alliance, Healthcare Interactive and the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving provide this information to family caregivers via training programs.

United Hospital Fund and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) created Next Step in Care, which is a website providing information and advice to caregivers and patients as they transition from hospital to home or long-term care facility.The CARE Act has been proposed by some states to support this kind of transition, and bring more safety and more efficiency to this process. It should help in providing caregivers with the means to take care of seniors properly.

Evans Law Firm, Inc. handles elder abuse lawsuits, including both financial and physical elder abuse cases. If you or a loved one has been a victim of elder abuse, please contact Evans Law Firm, Inc. at 415-441-8669 or via email at info@evanslaw.com.

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