Elder Abuse

In California, elder abuse refers to harm inflicted on senior citizens ages 65 and up. Often, the harm is unintentional and a result of negligent caretaking. In other instances, though, the harm is deliberately inflicted by someone looking to take advantage of the senior or their checkbook.

We all have elderly loved ones, and it is up to us to advocate for them when they can’t do so for themselves. This means proactively keeping them away from potentially harmful situations and putting a stop to any elder abuse we discover.

Types of Elder Abuse

When you hear the term “abuse,” your mind likely jumps straight to physical harm. In truth, though, this is just one of many forms elder abuse can take. Here are the three core forms of elder abuse I see in my legal practice:

  • Physical abuse, such as underfeeding, isolating, hitting, sexually molesting, or failing to take care of an elder’s physical needs
  • Emotional or psychological abuse, which refers to the neglect of or deliberate worsening of an elder’s mental, emotional, or psychological state
  • Financial abuse, meaning manipulating or coercing an elder for one’s own financial gain (for instance, forcing your way into an elder’s will or trust)

No matter the type of abuse you see or suspect, the most important thing you can do right now is speak up. Only by taking action can you put a stop to the abuse, get justice for your loved one, and prevent the same thing from happening to others.

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Causes of Elder Abuse

As a personal injury attorney with more than 30 years of experience in San Diego, I can tell you that elder abuse can occur for a number of reasons. Sometimes there is a motivating factor for the abuser in question. At other times, the harm caused was simply a careless mistake:

  • Malicious Intent. As terrible as it is to imagine, preying on the elderly is not at all unheard of. Many senior citizens are vulnerable due to physical or psychological conditions. Some people take advantage via physical, mental, and/or financial abuse, deliberate neglect, abandonment, or even abduction.
  • Unqualified Or Incompetent Caretakers. If your loved one lives in a nursing home or similar care facility, it’s important that you check in regularly to make sure they’re being taken care of the way they should. Equally important, you should call me the moment you suspect abuse.
  • Negligence. Even if a caretaker is fully qualified, they can still make harmful mistakes. Just as an experienced doctor can make a fatal error, a caretaker can neglect their duties, leading to issues like bed sores, malnutrition, dehydration, and other illnesses.

No matter the cause of harm in your case, I fully intend to hold the responsible person or people accountable and am not afraid to fight for them in court if that’s what it takes to get justice.

Signs of Elder Abuse

There are countless signs of abuse, whether or not the victim is elderly. Generally, what it all comes down to is unusual or inexplicable changes. Since you know your loved one best, it is up to you to look for signs of abuse and report them as soon as possible. These are among the warning signs to watch out for:

  • Weight loss
  • Bruises, broken bones, or other physical injuries
  • Unexplained financial changes
  • Unusual and/or unlikely stories about their condition
  • Anxiety
  • Anger or irritability
  • Fear
  • Depression or withdrawal
  • Hesitance to speak openly
  • Helplessness
  • General changes in behavior

If something has raised a red flag for you, take action immediately. Get your loved one the support they need, and call me for legal guidance on what to do next.

If You Suspect Elder Abuse in San Diego County

If your elderly loved one has begun to act differently, turn up with bruises, lose weight unexpectedly, or show other signs of elder abuse, please don’t hesitate to give me a call. Since 1979, I have been a strong advocate for senior citizens throughout Southern California, and I am ready to go to bat for your loved one. Schedule your free case evaluation today.