As a society, we are not the best at appreciating our elders. At minimum, we should care for our seniors to prevent them from being abused and/or victimized. To do so, we need to know what constitutes elder abuse, what to do about it, and, if/when warranted, when to bring in professionals. You should seek out an elder abuse attorney if you suspect that an older person is being abused or if you yourself are being victimized.
Here are the six most common types of elder abuse:
- Assaults such as hitting or shoving;
- Inappropriate/unwarranted use of drugs, restraints, or confinement.
- Intimidation via yelling or threats;
- Humiliation or ridicule;
- Unwarranted, continual blaming or scapegoating;
- Isolating from friends or activities.
- Physical sex acts;
- Activities such as nonconsensual exposing to pornographic material;
- Forcing to watch sex acts;
- Forced, nonconsensual undressing.
- Caregiver Neglect or Abandonment
- Constitutes more than half of reported cases of elder abuse;
- Can be intentional or unintentional, based on ignorance or denial of a senior’s true needs;
- Can result from an elder receiving insufficient care despite being financially capable.
- Healthcare Fraud
- Charging for unprovided healthcare, or overcharging/double-billing;
- Getting kickbacks for provider referrals or for prescribing certain drugs;
- Over- or under medicating;
- Recommending fraudulent remedies.
- Improperly using a senior’s money, property, or assets.
Financial elder abuse examples:
- Unauthorized use of funds/property;
- Misusing personal checks, credit cards, or accounts;
- Stealing cash, income checks, or household goods;
- Forging signatures or deceiving into signing documents;
- Identity theft;
- “Borrowing” (while intending to keep) property because of the individual’s poor memory or inability to retrieve it;
- Undue coercion to change a will or hand over property;
- Suddenly claiming rights to a dying relative’s possessions;
- Some financial scams that target elders include:
- Announcements of a “prize” that the elder has won but must pay to claim;
- Fake charities;
- Investment fraud.
Financial abuse indicators include:
- Sudden changes in how a bank account is managed, such as withdrawing large sums of money;
- Additional names on a bank account(s).
Many people are capable of committing financial elder abuse, including:
- Service providers, such as:
- Nursing home employees;
- Strangers may befriend an elder to try and gain access to their property.
Steps to prevent elder abuse:
- Talk with the person you feel is being victimized.
- Make sure you know their best interests and desires for their financial security.
- Be friendly: loneliness often contributes to an increased risk of financial abuse.
- In California, not reporting suspected abuse is a misdemeanor or felony.
- Contact resources such as:
- Adult Protective Services (or 911, if you are concerned for the elder’s immediate health);
- Local law enforcement;
- The senior’s financial institution;
- An elder abuse attorney.
Some California Resources That Can Help
Adult Protective Services
- Each county’s APS office investigates cases of suspected abuse, and cross-reports to law enforcement, licensing boards, and other pertinent government agencies.
- Call the 24-hour hotline for your county’s APS office. A full list of APS contact information by county is here.
Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman (OSLTCO)
- Investigates elder abuse in long-term care facilities, nursing homes, day programs, and other care institutions.
- A full list of Ombudsman offices by county is here.
- Ombudsman’s Statewide CRISIS line phone number: 1-800-231-4024
Attorney General’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud & Elder Abuse
- Protects the elderly specifically from medical fraud and financial abuse.
- 24-Hour Hotline Phone Number: 1-800-722-0432
California Department of Health Care Services
- Provides health care assistance to lower-income families and individuals.
- Also provides healthcare benefits to Medi-Cal beneficiaries.
- Call if you suspect financial fraud by an in-home supportive service provider.
- 24-Hour Hotline Phone Number: 1-800-822-6222
Cotchett Pitre & McCarthy
- One of the foremost law firms in the nation in representing senior citizens victimized by physical or financial abuse.
- Highly successful in actions on behalf of seniors who have been seriously injured in nursing homes, and seniors who have been defrauded into purchasing unsuitable financial products.
- To discuss a potential elder abuse case, please contact us at https://www.cpmlegal.com/inquiry or call 650-697-6000.