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What is Elder Abuse in California?

Senior citizens are a vulnerable demographic group, especially once a senior suffers from physical or mental decline that makes him or her dependent upon a caregiver. Seniors may be the victims of abuse by those who are supposed to protect and provide for them. Elder abuse is a national epidemic and is a growing problem as the population ages. Victims may be harmed by family members who provide care for them, as well as by home health aids, nursing home, and hospital staff members. What is Elder Abuse in California?

Elder abuse in California is illegal. Nursing home residents and all seniors have the right to be treated with respect and to have their needs met by caregivers. When a nursing home, assisted living facility, or home health aid engages in abusive behavior, the senior or his or her family may pursue a civil case for compensation.  An Irvine elder abuse attorney at Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can provide legal assistance when allegations of elder abuse are made or when abuse is suspected.

What is Elder Abuse in California?

Elder abuse in California takes many different forms including:

  • Physical abuse: A senior may be victimized by hitting, by pushing, by being burned with cigarettes, by having hair pulled, and by a host of other abusive behavior. Any offensive, unwanted, and/or harmful contact on the part of a caregiver can constitute unlawful physical abuse.
  • Neglect: Neglect is just as detrimental to a senior as intentional abuse. Neglect can occur when a caregiver (such as a nursing home or home health aid) takes responsibility for a senior and fails to provide for that senior’s basic needs.  Neglect can include not providing adequate food and assistance with eating; not providing adequate water and necessary help with drinking; and not helping a bedridden or wheelchair bound senior to move often enough.  Dehydration, malnutrition and bedsores are common consequences.
  • Emotional abuse: Emotional abuse can cause depression, anxiety, and physical harm to a senior. Depriving a senior of social contact can also be a form of emotional abuse, as can threats, name calling, and other behaviors intended to inflict emotional stress.
  • Sexual abuse: Any type of nonconsensual sexual behavior or behaviors with a senior who cannot give consent constitutes sexual abuse. Nursing homes often fail to appropriately supervise residents, which can lead to a senior being abused by fellow residents at the facility. The home can still be held accountable if their negligence facilitated the sexual assault.
  • Financial abuse or exploitation: A senior may have money, property, and assets taken by caregivers.
  • Chemical restraint abuse: Seniors are subject to chemical restraints far too often. This occurs when a senior is prescribed an unnecessary antipsychotic medication or given doses of medicine designed to make the senior more docile and easier to care for, rather than to treat a medical condition the senior is suffering from.

These are some of the most common types of elder abuse in California that affect the elderly.  An Irvine elder abuse attorney at Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can provide assistance in helping seniors and their families to take action when abuse occurs.