California Welfare & Institutions Code § 15610.07 defines Elder Abuse as: “Abuse of an elder or a dependent adult” means either of the following: (a) Physical abuse, neglect, financial abuse, abandonment, isolation, abduction, or other treatment with resulting physical harm or pain or mental suffering. (b) The deprivation by a care custodian of goods or services that are necessary to avoid physical harm or mental suffering.
If you know an elderly person who is being cared for by professional in an inpatient facility; by a licensed caregiver; by a family member; or by someone else, there are some signs of potential elder abuse to consider when visiting with the elderly person:
Physical Abuse – Unexplained old or new cuts, bruises, abrasions, burn marks, restraint marks, broken bones, fractures or dislocations. Signs of over-medicating, such as decreased mobility, blank stares, drowsiness and excessive sleeping.
~ Neglect – Poor hygiene, bedsores. Unsafe living conditions. Person left unattended. Unexplained weight loss and/or dehydration. Missing dentures, glasses, aids or mobility aides.
~ Emotional Abuse – Unexplained change in sleeping or eating habits; confusion or disorientation. Changes in behavior, such as anxiety; sadness; depression; agitation; fear of talking openly; or being untruthful when questioned about circumstances. Caregiver will not allow you to speak to alone or at all; or elder fears being left alone with certain people. Changes to a long-standing estate plan.
~Financial Abuse – Financial abuse is unfortunately all too common. Parents want to trust their adult children to assist them in paying their bills and often have “blinders” on when it comes to the shortcomings of their children. This is a recipe for abuse if that child is not financial secure; lives with the elderly parent; and/or that parent relies heavily on that child for assistance with day-to-day activities. The same can be true for caregiver relationships where the elderly individual has no family to rely upon or has been estranged from their family.
Caregivers can be a blessing to families who do not have the time to devote to the care of a dependent elder. While there are some wonderful caring individuals who choose to become caregivers, like any profession, there are also individuals who spontaneously take advantage of a situation when it presents itself or worse yet choose this profession with the intent on preying on an elderly person and taking advantage.
If your loved one is in a facility or being cared for by someone else, you should educate yourself on the signs of abuse and take action if you see signs of abuse.
While we hope you will never need this information, there are resources for reporting Elder Abuse. We can help. If you believe your loved one is or was a victim of Elder Abuse, contact Cannon Legal Firm for a free consultation or additional public and/or private resources for reporting abuse. Dana@CannonLegalFirm.com ~ (562) 543-4529 ~ www.CannonLegalFirm.com