Long-term care may include medical assistance, such as administering medication, ambulation assistance, or performing rehabilitation therapy. But more typically it involves assistance with the activities of daily living, including personal hygiene, dressing, bathing, meal preparation, feeding, and travel to medical services. It often includes supervision, such as protecting a person from wandering away or inadvertently injuring themselves.
ANYONE CAN BE A VICTIM OF ELDER ABUSE.
Elder abuse is a crime which is indiscriminate in choosing who it strikes. Factors such as one’s socio-economic status, gender, race, ethnicity, educational background and geographic location do not provide an impregnable barrier against its broad, horrible reach.
Elder abuse victims often live in silent desperation, unwilling to seek assistance because they unfortunately believe their cries for help will go unanswered and they fear retaliation from their abusers. Many remain silent to protect abusive family members from the legal consequences of their crimes, or are too embarrassed to admit that they have fallen victim to predators. Others fear that no one will believe them — chalking up their allegations to the effects of old age. Thus, it may take the courage of a caring family member, friend or caretaker to take action when the victim may be reluctant.
With your vigilance, care and cooperation, elder abuse can be stopped and its perpetrators arrested and prosecuted. In the past four years alone, social service and law enforcement resources have expanded dramatically to meet the growing need.
Help is available.
Mehta Law is experienced in litigating cases involving Skilled Nursing Facilities, Hospitals, Assisted Living Facilities, Physicians, Nurses and Ancillary Services ranging from medical negligence to complex allegations of Elder/Dependent Adult Abuse, Bill of Rights Violations and even Wrongful Death. We have litigated a variety of matters involving allegations of abuse against the elderly ranging from bedsores, infections, breaks/fractures and wrongful death.
TYPES OF ELDER ABUSE & NEGLECT.
- Bed Sores
- Bowel & Bladder Injuries
- Health Care Fraud
- Improper Restraints
- Malnutrition & Dehydration
- Mismanagement of Diabetes
- Physical & Sexual Abuse
- Repeated Falls
- Untreated Infections
- Wandering Off
THE WARNING SIGNS.
Physical warning signs:
- Call light is not functioning or is removed from resident’s reach
- Development or worsening of pressure sores
- Excessive weight loss
- Unusual or recurring scratches, bruises, skin tears or welts
- Bilateral bruising (bruises on opposite sides of the body)
- “Wrap around” bruises (bruises that typically encircle the arm)
- Torn, stained or bloody underclothing
- Signs of excessive drugging
- Foul smelling, uncombed or matted hair
- Patches of hair missing or bleeding scalp
- Injuries that are incompatible with explanations
- Injuries caused by biting, cutting, pinching or twisting of limbs
- Burns caused by scalding water, cigarettes or ropes
- Any injuries that reflect an outline of an object, for example a belt, cord or hand
Behavioral warning signs:
- Confused or extremely forgetful
- Helpless or angry
- Hesitant to talk freely
Isolation warning signs:
Isolation of an elder is an insidious tool used by many abusers. Accomplished with the systematic exclusion of all real outside contact, the elder victim is eventually driven to distrust friends, doctors and even close family members. Ultimately, the elder victim becomes a pawn – manipulated into trusting only the abuser.
- Family members or caregivers have isolated the elder, restricting the elder’s contact with others, including family, visitors, doctors, clergy or friends.
- Elder is not given the opportunity to speak freely or have contact with others without the caregiver being present.
Financial abuse warning signs:
- Disappearance of papers, checkbooks or legal documents.
- Staff assisting residents with credit card purchases or ATM withdrawals.
- Lack of amenities, such as appropriate clothing, grooming items, etc.
- Bills unpaid despite availability of adequate financial resources.
- Unusual activity in bank accounts, such as withdrawals from automatic teller machines when the person cannot get to the bank.
- Provision of services that are not necessary or requested.
- The appearance of a stranger who begins a close relationship and offers to manage the elder’s finances and assets.
REPORT ELDER ABUSE.
Any person who suspects that abuse of an elder has occurred can and should report it. Known or suspected cases of abuse should be reported to the appropriate agencies in your area, such as the local Long-Term Care Ombudsman, your local law enforcement agency or the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse. You may also file a complaint with the appropriate state regulatory agency.
If the suspected abuse has occurred anywhere other than in a facility, reports should be made to the local county Adult Protective Services Agency or to local law enforcement.
When in doubt, err on the side of caution and report.
Together we can stop the abuse of your loved ones. It is absolutely imperative that you contact our firm right away as abuse can continue and often escalates if there is no intervention.
Your friend or family member’s assets, health, dignity and/or life may depend upon your courage to act.