What Is Elder Abuse?
Elder Abuse is the intentional or negligent conduct of a caregiver or other person who harms a vulnerable adult. Elder abuse laws in California provide protections for disabled “dependent adults” as well as the elderly. All 50 states, including California, have elder abuse prevention laws. In California, the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act is found at Cal Welf. & Inst Code § 15600, et seq.
Elder abuse is a disturbingly common crime in the United States. According to the best available estimates, between 1 and 2 million Americans age 65 or older have been injured, exploited, or otherwise mistreated by someone on whom they depended for care or protection. (Elder Mistreatment: Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation in an Aging America. 2003. Washington, DC: National Research Council Panel to Review Risk and Prevalence of Elder Abuse and Neglect.)
The five types of elder abuse are:
- physical abuse causing pain or injury
- conduct inflicting emotional distress or psychological harm
- sexual assault
- financial exploitation
Elder abuse and neglect preys upon vulnerable elderly or disabled people who are dependent on caretakers or staff to help provide for their daily needs, including meals, hygiene, and mobility. If our elderly or dependent friends and family are neglected or abused, they may become virtually helpless, and suffering from crippling isolation may prevent them from being able to seek help.
What Are The Signs Of Elder Abuse?
Elder abuse can be difficult to identify. Victims may suffer through several instances of abuse before anything is done to stop it. Victims may be embarrassed or ashamed, physically incapable of communicating or fearful of potential backlash. This is why it is especially important for the families of the elderly and dependent adults to be watchful for the warning signs of abuse.
Some of the most obvious signs are bruises, broken bones, lacerations or other unexplained injuries. Although emotional trauma is harder to detect, sudden unexplained fear, depression, weight loss or withdrawal could be signs that abuse is taking place.
If your loved one is the victim of abuse or neglect, you can depend on the experienced elder abuse attorneys at Wakeford Gelini to assist you with the legal issues surrounding this kind of abuse.
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