Elder abuse can take many forms, from physical and emotional abuse to financial exploitation and neglect. And while it may seem overwhelming, you’re not alone in fighting elder abuse. An experienced Bakersfield elder abuse attorney can provide the support and guidance you need to protect your loved one.
Whether your loved one lives in a nursing home or receives in-home care, it’s important to be informed and know the signs of elder abuse. Let’s work together to protect our aging loved ones and promote a safe and dignified future for all.
In this blog, we will provide an overview of the types of elder abuse, the signs of elder abuse, and the services you can expect when you hire an elder abuse attorney.
Bakersfield Elder Abuse Statistics
According to the State of California Department of Finance, California’s 65-and-over population was 3.3 million in 2020; by 2030, it’s projected to be 4.7 million. Kern County’s 2020 elderly population of 107,000 is projected to increase 35% over the same time frame to 145,000.
Statistics for elder abuse are sparse, partially because there has been less research into elder abuse than other forms of abuse. Systems for collecting data on elder abuse, such as the National Adult Maltreatment Reporting System (NAMRS), are still in development. Most available statistics are for elderly who live in their own homes (community dwelling) versus those in nursing homes and assisted living facilities (ALFs). The Department of Justice reports that 90% of the elderly are community dwelling, not in long-term care.
Yet the statistics that are available show that elder abuse is a major and growing concern:
In California, the legal protection against elder abuse centers around the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (EADACPA).
This act encompasses a wide range of physical abuse, neglect, financial exploitation, abandonment, isolation, and any other mistreatment that results in bodily harm, pain, or mental suffering. It also covers cases in which a care custodian deprives an elder of goods or services essential to avoiding harm or suffering. The EADACPA provides a framework for pursuing civil action in elder abuse cases.
Individuals are unique and exhibit different signs of abuse. An older adult’s mental capacity, personality, and personal history are just a few factors that can affect how they show they are being abused. And the fact that some elderly individuals think it’s inappropriate or shameful to talk about abuse can make elder abuse even harder to identify.
If you are worried that your loved one is being neglected or if they are showing any signs of abuse, reach out to the experienced Bakersfield elder abuse lawyers of Chain | Cohn | Clark.
Physical Elder Abuse
Physical elder abuse is a heartbreaking and unacceptable form of mistreatment where someone physically assaults an elderly person. This abuse can come from many sources, including family members, caregivers, strangers, and even nursing home staff or medical personnel.
California Penal Code 368 defines elder abuse as any unjustifiable action taken toward an older person’s well-being that results in suffering. Physical abuse is intentional and can completely alter a person’s life, safety, and sense of security.
An act of physical violence against an elderly person in any form is considered elder abuse, including:
Physical abuse in elders is a devastating form of mistreatment that no one should have to endure. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to detect and often goes unnoticed. If you are concerned that a loved one is being physically abused, look for bruises, broken bones, restraint marks, or lesions.
You should also be concerned if your loved one shows increased agitation around certain people or in certain situations, if they have pressure ulcers, or are becoming more withdrawn and unresponsive.
If you do suspect physical abuse of your elderly loved one, talk to us right away. The Bakersfield elder abuse lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Clark are here for you.
Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse happens when staff, employees, caregivers, or medical professionals abuse an elderly person in their care. Nursing home abuse can happen any time the facility’s workers fail to meet the required standards of care.
Nursing home abuse can include other types of elderly abuse, like neglect, physical abuse, and sexual abuse. It can also include psychological abuse, such as verbal humiliation, threats, and financial exploitation. California’s Welfare & Institutions Code § 15610 protects our elderly community and loved ones from nursing home abuse and calls for adult protection.
The Bakersfield elder abuse attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Clark want to ensure that we hold institutions accountable for any nursing home abuse that occurs.
If your loved one resides in a nursing home, look for signs of nursing home abuse. Be suspicious if they experience any unexplained injuries. Also, be on the lookout for any signs of emotional distress. Other red flags include a sudden reluctance to be alone with staff members and sudden changes in behavior or attitude.
Sexual Elder Abuse
Non-consensual sexual touch or contact is unacceptable and constitutes sexual elder abuse.
Unfortunately, sexual elder abuse is often underreported. Elderly individuals may be unable to communicate the abuse happening to them, and the perpetrator may use threats to silence the victim.
If you suspect that your loved one is a victim of sexual abuse, it’s crucial to seek the help of an experienced elder abuse lawyer to ensure their safety and well-being.
Signs of sexual abuse in the elderly may include sudden changes in behavior, depression, fear of specific people or situations, reluctance to be alone with a particular person, and unexplained sexually transmitted infections.
Elder neglect happens when someone neglects the person under their care. Often, the caregiver willfully refuses to meet the older person’s needs.
The consequences of elder neglect can be severe, leading to physical, emotional, and mental suffering for the victim. It’s crucial to be vigilant and address any instances of elder neglect to ensure the safety and well-being of our aging loved ones.
Several signs may indicate a situation involving elder neglect, including:
Lack of Proper Care
Proper care is essential to an older person’s safety and well-being. Neglect or failure to provide the necessary care can have serious consequences, including physical harm and even life-threatening situations.
For example, a patient with dementia may wander off and become lost and alone in Bakersfield. Or an individual may receive the wrong medication or medicine dose, resulting in dangerous consequences. Each person in a care facility needs personalized treatment. If they are not being properly cared for, the results can be detrimental.
If your loved one resides in a care facility, be vigilant and look for signs of lack of care. These can include:
Assisted Living Facility Abuse
There is potential for ALF staff members to take advantage of and abuse elderly residents. Assisted living facility abuse can include physical, financial, sexual, and negligent abuse and can have severe repercussions.
It’s essential to be aware of the signs of ALF abuse and get assistance from an experienced elder abuse attorney if you suspect your loved one is being abused.
In addition to changes in behavior and attitude, some other signs of ALF abuse include:
Financial Elder Abuse
Financial exploitation or mismanagement of an elderly person’s finances constitutes elder abuse.
Financial abuse can involve various activities, such as unauthorized use of a senior’s credit and debit cards, stealing cash or personal belongings, forging checks, or taking advantage of an elder’s mental impairment to influence them into making a financial decision that goes against their best interest.
Financial abuse can include:
Financial abuse of elders can be a subtle and insidious form of mistreatment, but there are warning signs.
Some common indicators include unusual or unexplained bank account activity, missing financial documents or changes to legal documents, sudden changes in spending habits or living conditions, unexplained disappearance of funds or assets, and unusual or unauthorized changes to wills or trusts.
The older adult could also experience a sudden change in relationships with family or friends or seem confused or uncertain about their financial situation.
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Some older adults may exhibit signs of abuse by withdrawing from their typical activities. They may be less communicative and exhibit a persistently negative demeanor. Healthcare workers may talk negatively to elders, making them feel ashamed about their limited abilities. They may speak harshly to elders or call them names.
Elder abuse law also covers neglect. Most of the cases that our elder neglect lawyers help with begin based on initial reports of bedsores. When bedsores start appearing on an elderly loved one, it is time to contact knowledgeable elder neglect lawyers in Bakersfield.
Healthcare workers may also fail to provide proper hygiene, incontinence care, and eating assistance when they neglect elderly individuals. Our qualified, reliable, and professional Bakersfield elder abuse lawyers can help.
If there are no bruises or apparent physical injuries, remember that the abuse may be verbal or emotional. Our professional team of elder abuse lawyers can also help with these cases.
How Can an Elder Abuse Attorney Help My Loved One?
An elder abuse attorney can play a critical role in protecting the safety and well-being of your loved one.
Here are some ways an elder abuse attorney can help you:
If you believe your elderly loved one is being abused, contact the attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Clark as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can help protect their rights, ensure they receive the care and protection they deserve, and get them the compensation they are entitled to for their suffering. Your elderly loved ones should be able to lead a safe and secure life.
What Types of Compensation Are Available for Elder Abuse Cases?
When your loved one has experienced elder abuse, the perpetrator must be held accountable. Many elder abuse cases are categorized under personal injury because of the nature of the harm done.
Depending on your case, there could be a civil or state lawsuit. You may be able to pursue compensation and a potential criminal conviction in an elder abuse case. Our Bakersfield elder abuse lawyers are here for you to help you seek the compensation your loved one deserves.
If the abuse victim is still alive, they can recover past and future medical expenses, including increased care expenses, past and future wage loss if relevant, and damages for past and future pain and suffering.
In addition, the victim may be awarded punitive damages if the misconduct is severe enough. In cases where the older person has died, survivors are entitled to recover all of the above damages plus damages resulting from the loss of society—the care and comfort which would have been provided to them by the deceased.
Who Can File an Elder Abuse Lawsuit?
The following parties can take legal action for elder abuse:
When Should I Contact an Elder Abuse Lawyer for Help?
If you have an elderly loved one who is being abused, it is essential to act quickly. Contact a nursing home abuse attorney for a complimentary consultation. At Chain | Cohn | Clark, we are committed to remaining the best Bakersfield elder abuse law firm.
Our elder abuse lawyers will learn about your specific case and start an investigation. Let our elder abuse lawyers here in Bakersfield help you or your loved one receive the compensation and care you deserve.
If you know an elderly person you suspect is being abused or neglected, reach out to us right away. Taking advantage of someone is never acceptable.
Chain | Cohn | Clark proudly serves the city of Bakersfield. We also serve greater Kern County, providing services to clients outside of Bakersfield.
Contact us today with questions about elder abuse law and pursuing a case for justice.
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