What Are the Most Frequent Types of Elder Abuse and Neglect in California, and Who Commits Them?
The data on the impact of different types of elder abuse and neglect in California is daunting. Unfortunately, the Golden State leads the nation in elder abuse. Studies have found that 14 out of 15 cases go unreported.
What is the rate of incidence of elder abuse in California? The state has one of the highest numbers of citizens over the age of 65 in the country, at 14% of the population. But it is not only the state with the most seniors, it is also the state with the highest rate of elder abuse, at 11% of the national total. In fact, California has more than twice as many reports of elder abuse as the national average, 13% versus 5%.
Who are the most common victims? When we look at the data in more detail, women in California are 35% more likely to experience various types of elder abuse.
Who are the most common perpetrators? When it comes to whom the perpetrators of abuse and neglect crimes are, the results are disconcerting. Up to 33% of all elder abuse cases are perpetrated by a family member.
What is the most common form of elder abuse in California? According to recent NCEA research, California receives more than 175,000 reports per year. Of these, neglect accounts for 28% of all cases. This is followed by financial abuse at 26%. Psychological abuse is also a frequent type of abuse, at 25%, followed by physical harm, at 21%.
What Does the Future Hold for the Elderly?
The U.S. Census Bureau issued a report in 2000 certifying the increase in the elderly community by 2025: by then, the number of people would have doubled.
Now, according to the California Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes, projections of future population numbers in California show an even more significant increase in the coming years. According to estimates, the number of seniors enrolled in 2010 will double by 2030. This means that in the absence of sufficient resources to care for the elderly, the potential for abuse, neglect, and exploitation is likely to be high.
Most Common Signs of Elder Abuse
The statistics and projections set forth above illustrate to society the need to support a helpless community. There is an obligation to address and remediate poor quality, negligence, and abuse in the care of the elderly.
Although prevention is the best method to avoid serious incidents, in many cases accidents are unavoidable. However, knowing the common signs and signals can be one of the most effective measures to prevent abuse from escalating.
According to World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, which is celebrated every June 15, the seven clearest signs to look out for are:
- Lack of basic services
- Untidy and unclean living conditions
- Unexplained or atypical behavioral disturbances
- Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases
- Unpaid bills, new credit cards, and/or increased cash withdrawals
- Harassment, coercion, intimidation, or humiliation
- Isolation of the elder by the caregiver
However, the signs of elder abuse are very varied and can originate in different ways and in different situations.
Unfortunately, many of the signs of elder abuse can be confused with aging. For example, if an older person is no longer sociable and talkative, and now does not engage in conversation, it is often blamed on aging.
Critical Factors in the Different Types of Elder Abuse
Beyond the signs we have previously indicated, there are other factors that place a person at a higher risk of elder abuse.
Risk factors of the individual being abused:
- Being a female.
- To be over 70 years old.
- Unstable personal situations (divorce, separation, or widowhood).
- Being in a position of social isolation.
- Economic dependence.
- Functional incapacity, disability, poor mental health, or cognitive impairment.
Those most likely to commit Elder abuse or neglect:
- Personality marked by poor impulse control or lack of frustration tolerance.
- Substance abuse: alcohol, drugs, toxic substances, etc.
- Excessive physical and psychological burden.
- Social isolation.
- History of episodes of family violence.
- Economic dependence on the elderly person.
- Existence of mental illnesses, particularly if they have not been well treated or have not been diagnosed.
What to do if You Suspect Elder Abuse
As we have already seen, California law is designed to protect the rights of the elderly. This means that, in case of witnessing or suspecting any crime against the integrity of persons, any person has a legal duty to report it to the competent authorities. But, what measures should be taken, or how should one act when this occurs?
Seeing an elder be mistreated can be shocking. The guidelines that are commonly followed in cases of elder abuse and neglect are as follows:
- Contact 911 for immediate help in case of emergency
- Informing or alerting others of the seriousness of the matter
- Request assistance from the Nursing Home Ombudsman.
- Develop a safety plan
- Using the Internet to seek help from state or federal agencies
In the latter case, California’s state website warns of the dangers of the offender learning that the victim or a witness is thinking of reporting the situation. In the case of using a computer to seek information and help, be sure not to leave any marks. As state agencies point out, the other person could see the search history, so it is advisable to delete the browsing log.
One of the most effective ways to report cases of various types of elder abuse is to contact county Adult Protective Services. These agencies are prepared to handle the situation appropriately.
Who Usually Abuses the Elderly?
Statistics show that people who share most of the day-to-day situations with the elderly are the most likely to commit these crimes. The data indicates these perpetrators can be both male and female. Likewise, family members are the ones who tend to carry out these acts. National figures indicate that 60% of abuse occurs among children and spouses.
Focusing on nursing homes, workers in these institutions are involved in many types of elder abuse. According to a survey conducted by the WHO, 64% of these employees have reported having committed a crime against the integrity of residents at some time.
Can a Victim of Abuse and Neglect Receive Financial Compensation?
Causation for negligent and tortious action is a critical part of an award of damages. Compensation will vary depending on the damages and expenses claimed as a result of the injury. This can range from medical bills, funeral expenses, pain and suffering, fees, legal costs, and punitive damages.
How a Specialist Lawyer Can Help with the Different Types of Elder Abuse
In order to obtain the highest possible compensation, it is imperative to have attorneys who are experts in the legal field of elder personal injury. If a professional who has previously specialized in elder abuse cases is on your side, you will be assured of receiving compensation that covers all of your damages.
At Adamson Ahdoot, we work hard to make your case as strong as possible. We want our clients to be at ease during what can be an intense process. To that end, we guarantee to be compassionate and explore legal avenues with the determination to obtain the most beneficial outcome.
As in all personal injury cases, analyzing and investigating the evidence is key. Our attorneys will interview witnesses and contact medical experts in order to have sufficient evidence to win the case. Among many others, our team will prove the following:
- The accused deliberately subjected an elderly person to unwarranted physical or emotional abuse
- The perpetrator’s conduct led to a risk to the health of the elderly person
- If the defendant had knowledge of the elderly person’s dependency and basic needs and still perpetrated the crime
- The defendant acted with negligence towards the life of the victim
- In the case of financial abuse, it will be proven that the defendant committed financial fraud by various means or embezzled money or property from the victim while responsible for his care.
Adamson Ahdoot Can Assist You with Your Elder Abuse and Neglect Case
If you or a loved one has had a traumatic experience of abuse by a caregiver or nursing home employee, we can help. With more than 100 years of combined legal experience, our attorneys will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve.
Thanks to our bilingual team, we can serve you in both Spanish and English. We are available 24/7 to offer you a free consultation and provide you with more details about your case. If you do not know your legal options and would like more information about possible injury compensation in an elder abuse case, call us today at (800) 310-1606.