What is elder or dependent adult abuse according to California law? For residents of Vista and other parts of Southern California, it is important to learn more about the protections available to seniors who may be subject to nursing home abuse. A recent article in CalCoast News reports that the California Department of Justice arrested the owner and a former employee of an assisted living facility in the state for elderly dependent adult abuse. This case involves a critical case of nursing home neglect that resulted in the death of a resident. It serves as a reminder that laws are in place not only to punish perpetrators of elder abuse and neglect, but that there are also legal protections in place to prevent further abuse.
Details of the Recent Elder Neglect Case
As the article explains, the incident that led to the elder and dependent adult abuse charges occurred several years ago. In December of 2014, a senior, Mauricio Edgar Cardenas, at The Manse on Marsh, an elderly facility in San Luis Obispo, attempted to cross a street by himself. He was struck and killed by an oncoming vehicle, the driver of which was cleared of wrongdoing. When the accident happened, it was dark outside, and authorities determined that the motor vehicle driver could not have seen the victim in time to stop or to avoid hitting him.
Instead, questions arose about whether the facility could provide proper care for Cardenas, who suffered from dementia. Shortly after the incident, the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse received a letter about the accident, which contended that the “Executive Director [of the facility] knowingly admitted Cardenas to the facility with a dementia diagnosis and the facility lacks a dementia waiver to house such residents.” In other words, the letter alleged that the accident was the result of elder neglect.
While the investigation was launched in 2015, it has only now resulted in charges. Investigators with the California Department of Justice contend that the owner and employees of the facility “knowingly and willfully endangered Mauricio Edgar Cardenas . . . and ultimately caused his death,” according to a report in The Tribune.
Defining Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse in California
How does the law define elder or dependent adult abuse in the state of California? Under California law, abuse of an elder or a dependent adult is defined as “the abuse of someone who is either 65 years old or older, or a dependent adult that has certain mental or physical disabilities that keep him or her from being able to do normal activities or protect himself or herself.” The abuse is defined specifically as:
- Physical abuse, neglect, financial abuse, abandonment, isolation, abduction (taking the person out of the state against his or her will), or other behavior that causes physical harm, pain, or mental suffering; or
- Deprivation by a caregiver of things or services that the elder or dependent adult needs to avoid physical harm or suffering.
If you are concerned about an elderly loved one’s safety or health at a nursing home or assisted living facility, you should reach out to a Vista nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible. Contact the Walton Law Firm for more information about how we can help with your case.
See Related Blog Posts:
(image courtesy of Dayne Topkin)