Older Persons Suffer Abuse in Mendocino County
Growing Incidences of Financial Elder Abuse in Rural Areas
Evans Law Firm Represents Victims
Seniors in rural areas throughout California and here in Mendocino County are as at risk of financial elder abuse and other forms of elder abuse as are seniors in more densely populated areas. Perhaps even more so as isolation tends to be a common denominator among financial elder abuse striking rich and poor, men and women, and seniors still living at home and those in nursing homes or other care facilities. Statistics show that here in Mendocino County the number of reported cases of financial elder abuse cases has risen sharply in the last few years and is spiking during the pandemic particularly. Whenever you suspect financial elder abuse you should alert the authorities such as Mendocino County Adult Protective Services but you should also contact elder law counsel. The financial elder abuse litigators at Evans Law Firm, Inc. can represent seniors and their loved ones in Mendocino County and throughout California who suffer any form of elder abuse, including financial elder abuse. If you need help, call us today at (415)441-8669.
What is Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse or Neglect?
In broad terms, elder abuse can be defined in the following ways:
- Physical Abuse – The infliction of physical pain or injury, sexual assault, rape, or molestation, or use of physical or chemical restraints for punishment, without or beyond the scope of, a doctor’s order.
- Neglect – The failure to fulfill a caregiving duty, such as assisting in personal cleanliness, providing enough healthy food, clothing, or shelter, or protecting a person from health and safety hazards. One dangerous and potentially fatal problem is neglect of bedridden seniors which allows bed sores/pressure wounds to develop and become infected.
- Financial Abuse – The illegal or unethical exploitation and/or use of an elder or dependent adult’s funds, property, or other assets. This can range from outright theft of money or other property to more subtle examples such as sales of unsuitable insurance products or manipulation/churning of stock accounts or the creation of will and trust instruments benefitting a caregiver or other stranger to the detriment of a senior’s natural heirs.
- Abandonment – The desertion of an elder or dependent adult by someone who is a caregiver or home. Sadly, in rural areas in California this can be a singularly deadly form of abuse in the wake of fires and other natural disasters.
- Abduction – The removal, without the consent of an elder or dependent adult’s conservator, of an elder or dependent adult to another state. Our litigators have seen cases where people abduct seniors out of care facilities in order to isolate them elsewhere and exploit them financially.
- Isolation – Preventing an elder or dependent adult from receiving mail, telephone calls, or visitors. Isolation has become very real and almost universal danger for seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic and unscrupulous caregivers and others are taking advantage of the isolation to steal and exert undue influence over isolated and dependent older persons.
- Mental Suffering – The infliction of fear, agitation, or confusion through threats, harassment, or other forms of intimidating behavior. This again is exacerbated under the isolated conditions of the pandemic.
What are Some Warning Signs of Abuse or Neglect?
- Pressure wounds/ bed sores
- Unexplained signs of injury, especially if they appear symmetrically on two sides of the body
- Broken bones, sprains, or dislocations
- Report of drug overdose or apparent failure to take medication regularly
- Broken eyeglasses or frames
- Signs of being restrained, such as rope marks on wrists
- Caregiver’s refusal to allow you to see the elder alone
- Unusual weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration
- Untreated physical problems, such as bed sores
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Unsuitable clothing or covering for the weather
- Unsafe living conditions
- Threatening, belittling, or controlling caregiver behavior
- Behavior from the elder that mimics dementia, such as rocking or mumbling to themselves
- Significant withdrawals from the elder’s accounts
- Sudden changes in the elder’s financial condition
- Items or cash missing from the senior’s household
- Suspicious changes in wills, power of attorney, titles, and policies
- Financial activity the elder or disabled adult couldn’t have done, such as an ATM withdrawal when the account holder is bedridden
We cannot emphasize enough the importance of acting immediately if you suspect any elder abuse whatsoever. Ingrid M. Evans and the other Mendocino County elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. represent seniors and their families against any persons or businesses responsible for the abuse. Ingrid and our other elder abuse attorneys can be reached at (415) 441-8669, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.