The Risks of Elder Abuse and Neglect
Approximately one in 10 Americans 60 and older have experienced some form of elder abuse, which includes physical, sexual, mental, emotional, or financial abuse and/or neglect, according to the National Council on Aging (NCOA). The consequences of physical abuse or neglect can be severe. One in five high-risk emergency room Medicare claims were likely the result of abuse or neglect, a new government report indicates, and abused seniors are 300% more at risk of death than those who have not been mistreated, according to another study. The elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm represent seniors harmed by abuse or neglect and litigate against those responsible. If you or someone you know is suffering from any form of elder abuse in Marin County or elsewhere in California, call our elder abuse attorneys today at 415-441-8669, and we can help.
Important Steps in Preventing and Spotting Abuse
Family members and loved ones often lack the resources, time or skills required to care for older individuals who are infirm or require special medical attention. If the elderly person wants to stay home, an in-home caregiver may be hired. The caregiver may come through an agency or be independent worker. Either way, always do a background check on the agency and individual caregivers before hiring them. Don’t overlook this step even if using an agency. Agency screening is not always thorough and never assume any assigned caregiver has a clean record. Learn more about background checks at the Caregiver Background Check Bureau maintained by the California Department of Social Services here: https://www.cdss.ca.gov/inforesources/Community-Care/Caregiver-Background-Check.
Once caregivers are hired and in the home, visit as often as you can and monitor the care your loved one receives. Watch for signs of possible abuse or neglect:
- Bedsores/pressure ulcers or other poor skin conditions;
- Bruises and scratch marks;
- Poor physical appearance or lack of cleanliness;
- Frequent infections;
- Injuries from wandering off unsupervised (known as elopement);
- Indication of sexual assault, rape, or battery;
- Lack of equipment and supplies;
- Rapid weight loss;
- Abnormal or withdrawn behavior and unusual silence;
- Prolonged sleep or drowsiness;
- Agitation especially when certain caregivers are present or caregivers who do not want the patient to be alone with others;
- Reluctance to speak when staff is nearby;
- Unsanitary and unclean conditions, soiled bed linens and clothes;
- Fear of being touched.
In-home aides may also abuse a senior financially. Keep credit cards, cash, valuables and important papers like a Will or Power of Attorney in a secure place, off limits to caregivers and other strangers. Never grant a Power of Attorney to a caregiver or show them a trust, Will or other financial papers. Make an inventory of property in the home. If you are the loved one of a senior, visit regularly, often unannounced, and review bank statements, important records, and the mail. Report suspicions to the police and Adult Protective Services immediately and call qualified elder abuse counsel. While official reporting is important, you should pursue all civil remedies available to senior victims under California elder abuse law. Our lawyers handle elder abuse cases of all varieties and know the remedies, extra damages, and awards of attorneys’ fees and costs to which you or your victimized loved one is entitled.
If you or a loved one is or has been the victim of elder abuse in Marin or elsewhere in California, contact Ingrid M. Evans and the other Marin elder abuse attorneys at the Evans Law Firm at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com</a>. We can help guide your case through a jury trial or toward an equitable settlement. We handle cases involving physical and financial elder abuse, qui tam and whistleblower law, nursing home abuse, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities.