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The elderly in our society are some of the most vulnerable to abuse. They may not have the physical or mental capacity to defend themselves, and they also may be unable to communicate or too fearful to tell you what is going on. Under California law, elder abuse can be both a criminal offense and be subject to a civil lawsuit. Civil law defines elder abuse as physical abuse, neglect, financial abuse, abandonment, isolation, abduction, or other treatment resulting in physical harm or pain or mental suffering. It also means the deprivation by a care custodian of goods or services that are necessary to avoid physical harm or mental suffering.
If you suspect or discover a loved one is being physically, sexually, mentally, or financially abused, you need to take action by contacting AgnewBrusavich. Our Torrance elder abuse lawyers can help you stop the abuse, get your loved one into a safe situation, and make sure those responsible are held accountable.
How Common is Elder Abuse?
Elder abuse is, unfortunately, all too common. If you think you or your family are alone when facing this problem, the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) has statistics showing elder abuse is a widespread issue.
- A study of 2,000 nursing home residents showed that 44% said they had been abused, and 95% said they had been neglected or seen another resident neglected. Another study showed that close to 50% of people with dementia experienced some kind of abuse.
- Only about one in 14 cases of elder abuse are reported to authorities.
- A sample of 200 adult women with disabilities indicated that 67% had experienced physical abuse during their lifetime, and 53% had experienced sexual abuse.
- In a study of 342 adult men, 55% of men experienced physical abuse by any person after becoming disabled. Nearly 12% of these men stated they experienced physical abuse by a personal assistance service provider over their lifetime.
- Elders who experienced some form of abuse had a 300% higher risk of death when compared to those who had not been abused. They have additional health care problems than other older adults, including increased bone or joint problems, digestive problems, depression or anxiety, chronic pain, high blood pressure, and heart problems.
Warning Signs of Abuse
There are many potential warning signs of abuse, according to the NCEA, such as:
- Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions, and burns
- Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities, a sudden change in alertness, and unusual depression, which may be indicators of emotional abuse
- Bruises around the breasts or genital area, which can occur from sexual abuse
- Sudden changes in financial situations
- Bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene, and unusual weight loss a
- Strained or tense relationships, including frequent arguments between the caregiver and elderly person
The elderly often suffer in silence. If you notice changes in personality, behavior, or physical condition, you should question what is going on and contact our office for help.
Who is the Abuser?
If your loved one has been harmed, whether financially, emotionally, or physically, you may be wondering who would think to take advantage of a vulnerable person when they need help the most. The National Center on Elder Abuse has found that family members are most likely to commit abuse – the very people that older adults feel like they can trust.
Family members are most likely to commit abuse if they're unemployed and having financial issues, have abused drugs or alcohol, suffer from mental or physical health issues, and are male. Typically, spouses and grown children commit the most elder abuse.
However, there may be instances in which abuse is committed by someone outside of the family. Other at-fault parties can include:
- Nursing home residents
- Nursing home staff members
- In-home caregivers
How Our Team Can Help Your Family
We help our clients with all elder and dependent adult injury and death cases involving care facilities and home health agencies that fail to meet the standard of care, including:
- Direct physical, sexual, or emotional abuse of residents
- Malnutrition, dehydration, injuries, and infections due to neglect
- Failure to provide appropriate hygienic care
- Falls and other accidents caused by failure to provide adequate supervision of patients
- Medication errors, including failure to provide medicine and overmedication
- Improper use of restraints
- Falsifying medical records
- Negligently hiring unqualified employees and failing to properly train and supervise employees
Call our elder abuse lawyer in Torrance today at (310) 793-1400 for legal support wherever you are in the South Bay. We speak English and Spanish so you can communicate in the language you feel most comfortable using.