Elder abuse is more prevalent in society than most people want to think. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), approximately one in ten Americans age 60 and above have experienced abuse. Sometimes elder abuse is obvious, but in other cases, it happens behind closed doors. So what can you do if you suspect someone of elder abuse? Luckily, you have several options.
The article below outlines the signs of elder abuse and details how to report elder abuse anonymously in California. If you think your loved one is suffering from elder abuse, contact Silva Injury Law right away to discuss your case.
What Is Elder Abuse in California?
Elder abuse is the mistreatment or harming of an older person. Elder abuse includes:
- Financial abuse,
- Sexual abuse,
- Physical abuse, and
- Psychological abuse.
Financial abuse involves the use of theft, fraud, authority, or undue influence to gain control over an older person’s money or property. Neglect occurs when someone fails or refuses to provide for the safety, physical, or emotional needs of an older person. Physical abuse involves the use of force to threaten or injure an older person. Psychological abuse involves the use of verbal attacks, threats, isolation, or belittling acts that cause mental anguish or distress. Sexual abuse includes any sexual act towards an older person that is not consensual.
How to Recognize Elder Abuse
Some signs of elder abuse are fairly easy to spot, while others can stay hidden from even the closest family members.
Signs of psychological abuse might include:
- Unusual changes in behavior,
- Fear or anxiety,
- Lack of responsiveness,
- Depression, and
- Sudden changes in sleep patterns.
Any of these can indicate that some type of abuse is occurring.
Signs of financial abuse can include:
- A sudden change in bank account balances,
- Unexpected charges on bank statements,
- Forged signatures on official documents, and
- Frequent or unexplained ATM withdrawals.
Financial abuse is the fastest-growing form of elder abuse. Keep a lookout for these signs to put an end to the exploitation before it starts.
Signs of physical abuse might include:
- Broken bones,
- Burns, or
- Torn clothing.
The same signs can occur with sexual abuse, in addition to receiving sexually transmitted diseases.
In some cases, you can find signs of neglect throughout long-term care facilities, such as:
- Poor living conditions,
- Lack of adequate medical treatment,
- Poor hygiene,
- Failure to provide assistance devices,
- Long wait times for the call bell, and
- High staff turnover.
If you have minor concerns about care inside a nursing home, you can raise those concerns with the staff. This can help you build a working relationship with staff members and prevent minor issues from creating large headaches.
But more serious concerns may require more. Nursing home residents can file a complaint through the facility’s grievance process. When a resident files a grievance, the facility must provide a written summary of its investigation and its findings, including any corrective action.
How to Report Suspected Abuse
Anyone in direct contact with an elder or providing care to an elder is required by law to report suspected elder abuse. If you fear for an older person’s safety, you should contact 911. Securing their safety is the first priority.
Adult Protective Services
Adult Protective Services (APS) is a social service program in every state that receives and investigates reports of elder adult maltreatment and intervenes to help the victims when necessary. To report elder abuse to APS in California, call 1-833-401-0832 and enter your 5-digit zip code when prompted.
Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman
The Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman (OSLTCO) holds jurisdiction over elder abuse investigations in long-term care facilities, nursing homes, day programs, and other care institutions. There is a list of California Ombudsman offices by county online.
Silva Injury Law Is Here to Help
Elder abuse is a difficult topic to discuss. However, we know that seeing your loved one suffer from elder abuse is an extremely traumatizing situation. Our team at Silva Injury Law can walk you through the requirements for reporting elder abuse and ways to recover compensation for the harm in the aftermath. Contact our office today so we can start reviewing your case.
FIND OUT HOW WE CAN HELP
At Silva Injury Law we promote healing through compassionate advocacy. With each case tailored to the individual, we look our for your best interests by evaluating your unique circumstances. Contact us today for a FREE in person or remote consultation.