Elder abuse is a very real and dangerous situation that continues to occur more frequently. The truth is, the elderly population is increasing at a high rate as more and more baby boomers reach old age. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as many as 6.4 million California residents will be considered elderly by 2025. Many of the elderly receive care in a nursing home or long term care facility while others receive care at home from a family member or health care workers.
Unfortunately, many of the elderly do not receive proper care and indeed suffer injuries or even death due to elder abuse.
Elder Abuse Defined
The term elder abuse refers to harm that is caused (or intended) to an elderly person by another. The type of abuse may be physical or emotional. Some of the most common types of elder abuse include physical abuse, neglect, emotional abuse, abandonment, and exploitation. Abuse happens much more easily to an elderly person who is unable to defend against it. Additionally, the elderly person may be confined to a facility where they are cared for by others. These factors may make elder abuse a frequent occurrence.
Signs of Elder Abuse
Family members may think that their parents or other elderly relatives are in good hands when they are being cared for by a professional. However, there are many cases of elder abuse happening on a daily basis. Loved ones may not be aware of the problem, particularly in instances where the family member is very ill, is unable to communicate, or suffers from dementia. Signs to identify possible elder abuse include:
- Unexplained bruises;
- Broken bones;
- Behavioral changes;
- Depression; and
- Dirty living conditions.
Preventing Elder Abuse
There are some steps that can be taken to try to prevent elder abuse from occurring. Before choosing a care facility, be sure to research the location well and read the reviews of other clients. Make sure the company utilizes high-quality care workers and the patients are attended to by doctors on a regular basis. Consider a facility that uses monitors so family members can easily check on loved ones. Finally, visit on a regular basis at various times and days to verify the quality of care and to evaluate caregivers. If you think that abuse has occurred, take immediate action.
What to Do if You Suspect Elder Abuse
Unfortunately, elder abuse may occur even when you have been cautious. If you feel a loved one has suffered at the hands of another, it is essential to report the alleged abuse as soon as possible. Call 911 or contact the California helpline, hotline, and referral service and speak to the experienced attorneys at Berman & Riedel, LLP. We provide immediate responses to your questions and concerns and will help protect the rights of your loved one. Contact Elder Abuse Attorneys today to schedule a consultation.