Elder abuse comes in a variety of forms. The abuse we hear about most frequently is physical abuse, which includes assault, battery, and sexual offenses, and financial abuse, which is usually a matter of fraud or undue influence upon a senior citizen. Both physical and financial abuse are very serous offenses that should be promptly reported to the police, and a private civil attorney.
Another, less discussed, form of abuse is abuse in the nursing home or assisted living setting. In California, there are approximately 100,000 nursing home beds, and probably an equal number of assisted living beds, and the health and well being inside these facilities usually depends on the quality of the care they are receiving. In truth, the word “abuse” is probably a bit misleading, as these occurrences are usually a matter of neglect of the elderly resident, not physical abuse.
Unfortunately, most instances of neglect or abuse are not reported. Elderly residents are often afraid to report an act of abuse or neglect for fear of retribution by staff, or simply because they cannot stand the thought of being transferred to a different facility. Or, more often, the decline in health caused by the neglect is attributed to some other cause, usually related to old age.
I typically tell people that if there is any unexpected injury, illness, or death, then it’s important to take a look at the records to determine the actual cause. Yes, people of advanced age usually have a variety of health problems, and most of the time illness or death is a naturally occurring event, and not the result of neglect or abuse. But if you, as the loved one, have a sense that something is not right, then I would suggest that an attorney with experience in nursing home abuse or neglect cases take a look at the person’s medical file.
The law firm of Walton Law Firm LLP represents seniors and dependent adults who are victims of neglect, abuse, mistreatment, and malpractice in the nursing home, assisted living, and residential care setting. Cases in all Southern California counties are accepted, including San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, and Imperial.