Elderly abuse is one of the most senseless and tragic types of crime that takes place in modern society, yet sadly it is a growing problem in San Diego and throughout the nation. According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), nearly 1 in 10 adults aged 60 or older are affected by some form of elderly abuse.
There are many different forms of elderly abuse. Some are easier to detect than others. While physical abuse may be an obvious indicator of wrongdoing, things like neglect, deprivation, and financial exploitation are harder to uncover. The most common perpetrators of elder abuse tend to be family members according to the NCOA. Other times, other caretakers such as nursing home and hospital staff, facility administrators, nurses and even doctors are the ones guilty of elderly abuse.
If you suspect that your loved one is a victim of elderly abuse, it is essential to talk to a San Diego nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced attorney specializing in elderly abuse can determine whether or not you have grounds to take legal action and will be able to show you what steps need to be taken in order to hold the responsible party liable for their actions.
Call San Diego’s leading elderly abuse lawyers at 1-858-551-2090 and speak to an attorney now. Your loved one deserves justice. Call today.
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UNDERSTANDING ELDERLY ABUSE LAW IN CALIFORNIA
Elderly abuse law in California can be complex. Some elderly abuse cases are civil cases and some are criminal. Our team of nursing home abuse lawyers will be able to weigh all of the factors of your case and determine which category it falls into. Generally, civil and criminal cases are determined as follows:
When a case concerns fraud, isolation, abandonment, deprivation, or neglect that results in physical or mental harm, it is considered to be a civil case.
Cases that involve willful violence against the elderly are referred to as criminal cases. In these cases, the harm to the victim is intentional and unjustifiable.
RECOGNIZING ELDERLY ABUSE
One of the real tragedies of elderly abuse is how long it can go on without anyone knowing anything. Due to health issues, many elderly people don’t have the ability to speak for themselves. Some common forms of elderly abuse to look out for include:
Bruises are one of the first indicators of elderly abuse. Elderly people are prone to soft tissue injuries and sometimes bruises on the skin can be the first sign of elderly abuse. If your loved one has been mishandled, pushed, pinched, shoved, or otherwise abused, you will see evidence of this on their skin. Check for bruising on hands, arms, legs, back, buttocks and thighs. Contact our nursing home abuse lawyers right away if you find bruising and suspect elderly abuse.
Similar to bruising, elderly people can tear their skin easier than most. If your loved one is in an assisted living facility, caregivers should understand how to safeguard your loved one from skin tears. Torn skin can often occur from mistreatment of the elderly, and can be evidenced by frequent bandaging to cover the tears, or scabbing as the tears heal. If you see evidence of torn skin, it could be a sign that your loved one is being mistreated.
UNEXPLAINED WEIGHT LOSS
Routine care should include regular checkups with a doctor. These checkups will typically record health stats including weight. Unexplained weight loss can be the result of underlying health issues or can be an indicator of missed meals and malnutrition. These are both considered forms of abuse and you may be entitled to a legal case against the responsible party.
Many elderly people are unable to get out of bed without help. When an elderly person is confined to their bed, caregivers must be certain to move them periodically and check for bedsores. When bedridden, loved ones should have assistance to shift their resting position to prevent bedsores from developing. Caretakers should also be ensuring that your loved one is changed and bathed regularly to maintain hygiene and prevent the infection of any bedsores that might already be present. Infected bedsores that are left untreated can lead to serious conditions including cellulitis, infections of the bone or joints, carcinoma, and even sepsis. Loved ones should be frequently shifted from side to side when bedridden. Diapers should be changed regularly. Washing and hygiene should take place on a daily basis. If any of these care regimens are neglected, bedsores can quickly take root and can lead to infection or fever.
When an elderly person’s personality and behavior changes sporadically, there may be more to the changes than what meets the eye. Mental issues such as depression, anxiety, unexplained fear, withdrawal, denial, and agitation can indicate abuse. If your loved one starts acting differently and the changes are unexpected, you should consult a doctor immediately and contact a lawyer if you suspect abuse.
IDENTIFYING NURSING HOME ABUSE
Elderly abuse can be hard to identify at first. While a decline in health is unfortunately a common side effect of aging, if new symptoms appear suddenly it is prudent to be aware of the possibility of abuse. According to the NCOA, elderly individuals who are abused have a 300 percent higher risk of death. In some tragic cases, some elderly abuse cases can lead to wrongful death.
Elder abuse can take on many forms. Here are some common signs that may indicate abuse. If you suspect that your loved one is experiencing abuse, contact a nursing home abuse lawyer immediately.
The presence of bruising, burns, cuts, swelling and lacerations are the first and most obvious sign of abuse. While elderly people are more prone to injury than most, the repeated and prolonged presence of bandages may indicate something more than clumsiness or imbalance. Restraining an elderly person is a form of abuse, so be sure to look for marks or rashes around the wrists or across the body.
Sadly, many elderly people who reside in assisted living facilities, residential care facilities, nursing homes, and hospitals become neglected. If you find that your loved one is left isolated for long periods of time, is missing meals or is bathed infrequently, you should become very concerned as these can be signs of neglect. While neglect may not always be intentional, it is the responsibility of caretakers to provide proper care to your loved one. Legal action can be taken if they fail to provide that care. Whether we find that elderly neglect is a result of understaffing or improper training, or if neglect is the result of intentional harm, we will help gather the information to get your case underway.
Emotional abuse is a common form of mental suffering. This may include name-calling, verbal assaults, harassment, intimidation, and threats. Things like prolonged isolation can have a huge impact on a person’s wellbeing.
Sexual abuse occurs when an elderly person is touched, fondled or forced into intercourse unwillingly. An elderly person may be unable to consent to sexual acts due to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or other health impairment.
NEXT STEPS: TAKE LEGAL ACTION
Elderly abuse something that no one should have to endure. No individual should ever be intentionally placed in harm’s way, and when an elderly person is the victim of harm the effects of the abuse can permeate through entire families. If you suspect that your loved one has been abused, call our nursing home abuse lawyers right away. We’ll help you gather everything you need to make a strong, compelling case in the court of law.
When you need answers right away, our elderly abuse lawyers are here to help. Get answers to your questions today, 24/7, with NO out-of-pocket costs. Our consultation is completely FREE and we won’t collect a penny until we win your case.
Call us now at 1-858-551-2090 and speak to San Diego’s leading elderly abuse lawyers today.
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