Elder abuse is often undetected, especially in more vulnerable victims, who may not feel secure in coming forward and outing their abusers for fear of retaliation. The San Mateo County elder abuse and nursing home attorneys at the Evans Law Firm Inc., report that nearly six million cases of abuse are reported in the United States every year, and California leads the nation, with nearly 11 percent of all cases centralized within the state. And if six million cases are reported, imagine how many more go without investigation or resolution.
Nursing homes and live-in facilities, in which an older person has lost some degree of independence, and must rely on caretakers for day-to-day assistance, are rampant with abuse in California, due to the nature of isolation and dependence they foster. Although a good nursing home can provide a stable, caring, and secure environment for an older person to live, some of these facilities are understaffed, or employ nurses and caretakers who lack the proper credentials, empathy, and caring needed to truly provide a home. In facilities where the staff is too busy, spread too thin, or over medicating the clients through the use pf psychotropic drugs, can cause elder abuse that can begin simply as neglect and forgetfulness, and snowball into reckless disregard and severe elder abuse and injuries. This abuse can be also manifested physical abuse and assault including sexual assault.
Know the Signs of Elder Abuse
If an older person is cut off from his or her family, or spends long periods of time without visitors, he or she may be in a vulnerable position, and susceptible to abuse. Common warning signs that may indicate elder abuse include:
- Bed sores, pressure ulcers
- Unusual weight loss or gain
- Unexplained bruises, injuries, or other physical marks
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Untreated medical conditions or problems
- Sudden changes in mood, appearance, or mental state
- Diminished self-worth or confidence
California does not tolerate elder abuse, and at the Evans Law Firm, Inc., our San Mateo County elder abuse and nursing home attorneys encourage you to stay vigilant, and take immediate action if you have been abused, or if you believe that an abusive situation is ongoing. Abuse of a senior citizen is prohibited and punished under the California Welfare and Institutions Code, which details the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Abuse Civil Protection Act and the Protective Placements and Custody of Endangered Adults Act.
If you suspect that a senior citizen is being abused in California, there are many ways to get help. Our state has several resources to combat elder abuse, including government agencies that have been specifically trained and designed to handle cases of abuse. The California Adult Protective Services, the California Department of Aging, and the California Attorney General’s Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse Bureau are great places to start for reporting and preventing elder abuse.
Our San Mateo County elder abuse and nursing home attorneys at the Evans Law Firm represent abuse victims and their families, and fight back against negligent and abusive caretakers and facilities to prevent further abuse, and bring justice and restitution for current victims. If you need help, contact an Evans Law attorney for a consultation today at 415.441.8669 or www.evanslaw.com.