Combating elder abuse takes a village, especially in today’s society, where more and more older people fall victim to neglect and abuse every day. In nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and even their own homes, these victims suffer physical and financial abuse at the hands of their caretakers or family members, and anyone who witnesses or even suspects abuse should take action immediately.
In California and other states throughout the country, there are several agencies dedicated specifically to helping older people in these capacities by investigating claims of elder abuse, shutting down corrupt or negligent facilities and home-care practices, and helping older victims fight back against their abusers.
Adult Protective Services (APS) is one such resource, where suspected elder and dependent elder abuse can be reported. Although many professionals are considered mandated reporters, and as such, are required by law to make reports when they see, hear about, or suspect elder abuse (law enforcement officers, health care workers, clergy, and others), anyone can file a report with APS, and the identity of the reporter can remain anonymous throughout an investigation.
Throughout the APS organization, there are several specially-trained social workers who serve as part of the staff and provide preventative and remedial services to older adults. These services are designed to foster independence so that older adults can maintain independence as long as possible in their own homes and will not have to rely on full-time care in a nursing home or an in-home caretaker.
APS handles various types of abuse, not just criminal abuse, and provides resources for abuse victims to find better caretakers or more qualified nursing homes and facilities. However, APS is unable to take suspected abuse victims out of their current living situations and place them into protective custody. In these cases, the agency can work with their resources and local law enforcement officials to stop the abuse and restore the victims’ wellbeing and health.
In many states, APS services are available to all adults aged 65 and older, as well as physically, mentally, or developmentally delayed and disabled adults aged 18-64. These services are not based on income or financial resources, and are completely voluntary. An older person can decline APS’ offers. Along with elder physical, sexual, emotional, and financial abuse, APS also works with victims of self-harm and neglect.
Keep Your Loved Ones Safe
Signs of abuse include disorientation, unexplained bruises and injuries, mental instabilities, and changes in personality or behavior — all of which can also be attributed to getting older. Spotting abuse can be tricky, so our attorneys advise you to keep your eyes open and familiarize yourself with the signs of abuse and the methods in place for combating it. If you have a loved one who lives in a nursing home or relies on in-home help and care, the Contra Costa County elder abuse lawyers at the Evans Law Firm, Inc. recommend that you remain watchful with respect to their wellbeing and health (including their mental health), to keep them safe from abuse and harm. Contact us for a consultation today at 415-441-8669 or online at www.evanslaw.com.