Understanding Elder Abuse

By: JML Law | May 12, 2021.
Understanding Elder Abuse

The COVID pandemic has exposed some pretty troubling faults in our healthcare system. The hardest-hit appears to have been one of our most vulnerable demographics. The elderly have been living on a razor’s edge over the last year, but America’s older citizens have been susceptible to any number of dangers over the years. And all too often, these dangers are standing right beside them.

A preliminary description of elder abuse means you have to look at intentional or neglectful acts of malice, creating harmful risks to or taking advantage of someone 60 years of age or older. Sadly, the abuse occurs at the hands of a caregiver or a person the elder initially trusts.

Los Angeles personal injury attorneys, JML Law, represent victims of elder abuse throughout California because their well-being is our passion.

Defining elder abuse

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports several risk factors associated with elderly abuse. These causes range from lack of caretaker training to accountability while caring for an older adult to lack of social support to drug use to financial stress. While the motives behind the abuse may vary wildly, the abuse itself can be categorized by these frequently recognized types:

  1. Physical – The intentional use of physical force which can include:
    • Slapping
    • Punching
    • Kicking
    • Pushing
    • Burning
    • Using restraints unnecessarily
    • Using excessive force or unnecessary roughness when moving an elderly person
  2. Emotional Abuse – Verbal or nonverbal behaviors that cause anguish, humiliation, fear, or distress to an older adult. Some examples are:
    • Name calling
    • Destroying personal property
    • Denying visitation to friends and family
    • Threatening with physical harm
    • Treating an older adult like a child
    • Isolating an elderly individual
  3. Financial Abuse – Illegally or improperly accessing an elder’s financial accounts, personal information, benefits, or valuable personal property for the benefit of someone other than the older adult. Crimes associated with this type of abuse may include:
    • Theft of goods or money
    • Embezzlement
    • Medical fraud
    • Mortgage fraud
    • Credit card fraud
    • Check fraud
    • Identity theft
    • Changing a will without permission
  4. Neglect – Failure to meet an older adult’s basic needs, including:
    • Food
    • Water
    • Shelter
    • Clothing
    • Hygiene
    • Essential medical care
  5. Sexual – Any unwanted sexual interaction which can include:
    • Unnecessary contact
    • Penetration
    • Sexual harassment

Do not let abuse go unpunished

There is a criminal lack of data concerning elder abuse, but from the research, we do have, it has found that one in 10 older adults have reported at least one type of abuse. Because elders are often afraid or unable to tell police, friends, or family about the abuse, it frequently goes unreported.

There is a limited amount of time to file lawsuits in these cases. Two years from the date of the abuse is the California personal injury statute of limitations to file a claim against the alleged abuser. This can be a very tight window so it is important to stay informed about the welfare of the elderly people in your life.

If you or a loved one is a victim of elderly abuse, you need to contact Los Angeles’ personal injury attorneys at JML Law for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or calling us at 818-610-8800.

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