Irvine Civil Litigation Lawyers Examine Elder Abuse
The Irvine civil litigation lawyers at our firm assist clients that have been victims of elder abuse. This problem is growing by leaps and bounds, because the population of the United States is aging rapidly. According to the United States Census Bureau, between 2000 and 2010, the segment of the population that was between 85 and 94 years old grew faster than any other ten-year age grouping.
Once you celebrate your 67th birthday, your life expectancy is at least 85. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, about 40 percent of people that have reached this age have contracted the disease. Many of these elders are going to reside in nursing homes, and of course, there are other medical reasons why a senior may require nursing home care.
Clearly, all instances of elder abuse do not take place in nursing homes, but a significant percentage of them do. A number of years back, a group of long-term care ombudsmen recorded the number of elder abuse complaints that they had been filed by people residing in nursing homes and assisted living facilities and their families. There were more than 20,000 complaints in a single year.
Physical Elder Abuse
Elder abuse is something that is truly unthinkable, but unfortunately, it is not uncommon. There are a number of different types of elder abuse that we see all too often, and one of them is physical abuse. The ombudsmen reported that this type of abuse was the most common type of mistreatment that took place in long term care facilities.
It is hard to believe that people can inflict pain on helpless elders, but there have been reports of truly heinous acts of violence. In addition to slapping, punching, shaking, and other direct acts of aggression, there are more subtle forms of physical elder abuse. These would include the improper administering of drugs, force-feeding, and the use of painful physical restraints.
As disturbing as it may be, there are instances of sexual abuse as well. Emotional and psychological abuse is another form of mistreatment that some elders experience. There can be verbal assaults, threats, and seniors can sometimes be intentionally ignored when they are speaking to others.
A passive form of elder abuse is neglect. Someone may be forced to live in an unsanitary environment, and there can be bedsores or other ailments that are left untreated. Neglect can sometimes lead to dehydration and/or malnutrition. Abandonment is yet another type of elder abuse, and it is rather rare, but it happens.
Elder Financial Abuse
In addition to physical elder abuse, there is also the matter of elder financial abuse. Back in 2011, the MetLife Mature Market Institute collaborated with the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse to conduct a probe into the matter. They were joined by the National Committee for Gerontology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute.
At that time, they estimated that annual losses from instances of elder financial abuse were right around $3 billion. However, they emphasized the fact that it was very difficult to place an accurate figure on the extent of the losses. This is because the vast majority of cases go unreported.
Why would there be so many instances of elder financial abuse that are never reported to the authorities? One reason is that the perpetrators are often family members, and the victims do not want to get them into trouble. In other cases, a caregiver is the abuser, and the senior does not want to lose the assistance. Of course, sometimes an elder simply will not know that they are being abused.
The $3 billion figure is eye-catching to say the least. However, in 2015, another probe was conducted by TrueLink, which is an account monitoring company that focuses on seniors and their families. They estimated that the losses are actually somewhere in the vicinity of $36 billion each and every year.
We Are Here to Help!
All forms of elder abuse are truly horrific, and you should certainly send a strong message to the perpetrator if you or a loved one has been victimized. Our Irvine civil litigation lawyers have a great deal of expertise in this area, and would be more than glad to gain an understanding of your situation and explain your options to you.
You can schedule a consultation right now if you give us a call at 714-505-3070. There is also a contact form on this website that you can use to send us a message.