Our elders, who raised us or raised our parents, deserve the best of care later in life. They should be treated with courtesy and respect and live in a safe and comfortable environment, with good nutrition, adequate personal care, and proper medical attention. Sadly, this is all too often not the case, and elder neglect is a growing concern in our communities.
Elderly people comprise the fastest-growing population segment in the nation. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), by the year 2030, people over the age of 65 will make up more than 20% of the U.S. population. As the numbers increase, so does the incidence of neglect and abuse. The National Council on Aging reports that 1 in every 10 Americans age 60 or older has experienced some form of elder abuse or neglect, and up to 5 million senior citizens are abused in the U.S. every year.
Our dedicated legal team at RA & Associates helps fight elder neglect in the Los Angeles area. We are committed to thoroughly investigating incidents of elder abuse and neglect, determining who is liable, and holding responsible parties accountable for the harm they have caused.
What Is Elder Neglect
Abuse of the elderly occurs in many forms, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, confinement, financial exploitation, and neglect. Elder neglect can occur as passive neglect or willful deprivation:
Passive Neglect: A caregiver fails to provide an elderly person with the necessities of life, which may include food, clothing, shelter, hydration, personal care and hygiene, or proper medical care.
Willful Deprivation: A caregiver denies an older person certain necessities, exposing the elder to physical, mental, or emotional harm. This may include food, water, shelter, physical assistance, therapeutic devices, medications, or medical care. (It is not willful deprivation if the senior citizen is competent and has expressly refused the care.)
As reported by the NCEA, a national study found that neglect is the second most common type of elder abuse, placing only after financial mistreatment. Elder neglect can lead to malnutrition, dehydration, and serious physical and emotional harm. As reported by NCEA, elders who experience abuse in any form, including neglect, have a 300% higher risk of death than those who are not suffering from abuse.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
As physical and mental health begins to decline with age, many older people turn to nursing homes for the extra level of care they may require on a daily basis. Unfortunately, not all nursing home facilities consistently provide the high quality of care dependent elderly people need.
Nursing homes sometimes fail to screen or properly train their employees. The facility may be understaffed, which puts an additional burden on existing staff, causing them to be less attentive and leading to neglect of residents. Overburdened staff may also become stressed, which can lead to emotional and physical abuse.
When nursing home residents are immobile or extremely ill, neglect can have dangerous consequences. The elder may lose muscle tone and mobility, develop bed sores, or suffer a serious fall that could have been prevented if the nursing home had provided sufficient qualified staff to attend to the residents’ needs.
Warning Signs of Elder Neglect
Neglect constitutes more than half of all reported elder abuse cases. Family members with elderly loved ones should be alert to the warning signs of elder neglect by caregivers, so they can step in, investigate, and take action if necessary to prevent further abuse and hold responsible parties accountable. Signs of elder neglect may include:
Dehydration, malnutrition, or unusual weight loss
Bedsores or untreated medical problems
Soiled bedding or clothes, bugs, dirt, or other unsanitary conditions
Older person left dirty or unbathed
Elder’s clothing or covering is unsuitable for the weather
Unsafe living conditions (hazards in the elder’s environment)
Legal Help with Elder Neglect in Los Angeles
At RA & Associates, we have built a reputation as a premier personal injury, real estate, and property damage law firm in the greater Los Angeles area. When we handle your nursing home neglect case, you can have confidence that we will investigate to determine who is responsible, fully assess the scope of the damages, and relentlessly pursue maximum compensation for your losses. We believe that nursing homes and caregivers who neglect elderly people should be held fully accountable for the harm they have caused. Our firm is committed to protecting the rights of the elderly in a range of elder abuse cases, and can help you immediately. Early intervention is critical; we urge you to connect with our firm at once if your loved one is exhibiting any of the symptoms of elder abuse.
If you suspect that your elderly family member has been neglected or abused, contact us by telephone or using our online form and schedule a free consultation. We will be happy to discuss the situation and advise you of your options under the law, and how to best protect your elderly loved one.