Nearly half of all Americans will live in a long-term care facility during their lifetime. These facilities are supposed to meet the special needs of the elderly, but too often, the elderly are not properly cared for or are the victims of outright abuse at the hands of facility employees or even relatives.
Under California law, an elder is “any person residing in [California], 65 years of age or older.” Dependent adults are likewise protected by California statute. A dependent adult is “any person residing in [California], between the ages of 18 and 64 years, who has physical or mental limitations that restrict his or her ability to carry out normal activities or to protect his or her rights including, but not limited to, persons who have physical or developmental disabilities or whose physical or mental abilities have diminished because of age.”
The California Attorney General’s publication, Citizen’s Guide to Preventing and Reporting Elder Abuse, lists some of the physical warning signs of elder abuse, including among other signs:
1. Weight loss
2. Bad smelling, uncombed or matted hair
4. A missing or out-of-reach call light
5. Bed sores, and
6. An excessively drugged appearance.
But even where an elderly person isn’t being physically abused, he or she still may be a victim of financial abuse. Unusual bank account activity, unnecessary services being provided and charged to the resident, unpaid bills even though the resident has sufficient resources, and missing legal documents, checkbooks and other papers.
If you suspect that a loved one is being abused, whether physically or financially, you should report the suspected abuse to Adult Protective Services immediately. Additionally, an elder abuse attorney can provide you with invaluable advice and help you determine remedies that may be available under the law. Call to schedule your consultation with one of our experienced elder law attorneys immediately.