Elderly Americans and dependent adults are vulnerable. Our vulnerable seniors and dependents require high-quality care and protection but unfortunately, many U.S. men and women in this group cannot care for themselves or speak up when their care is inadequate, or even abusive. That is why the California legislature enacted the Elder and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act. This legislation makes it clear: neglecting and abusing elders and dependent adults will not be tolerated. Those responsible for such heinous acts will be forced to pay the stiffest of penalties and damages in civil court.

Yet, corporations that own, operate and manage Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF), Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFE) and Long Term Care Centers (LTAC) are profiting immensely from the business of abuse and neglect. These facilities claim to be fully staffed, trained and equipped to provide patients and residents with quality, compassionate care. Most times, that is simply not true.

Instead, facilities are understaffed, and the limited staff available are under-trained, poorly educated, and lack the necessary resources to adequately and compassionately care for elders and dependent adults. See Mr. Stipp’s case featured in the daily publication The Sacramento Bee. These facilities aim to cut costs and maximize profits, all to make billions of dollars at the expense of our aging parents, grandparents, and our loved ones.

Here are the top injuries reported in Elder/Dependent Adult abuse cases:

  • Falls (and resulting injuries)
  • Bed Sores and Other Skin Neglect
  • Malnutrition
  • Verbal Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Physical Abuse
  • Severe Weight Loss
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive Wandering (including outside of the facility)
  • Over-medication to sedate distressed residents
  • Abandonment
  • Head Injuries
  • Poor Hygiene
  • Psychological and Emotional Abuse
  • Isolation
  • Broken bones
  • Infection

If your loved one has been abused or neglected at the hands of these facilities, seek legal assistance from an elder abuse lawyer in San Diego that is experienced litigating these cases specifically. We are here to help.

Are you unsure whether your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse? Know the signs of elder abuse, and keep your aging parent, grandparent, or dependent adult in your life safe from harm.

Unfortunately many of the telltale indications of abuse may be similar to physical signs and symptoms of dementia or mental decline. The presence of multiple signs or patterned injuries can be used to pick apart accidents from abuse. Look for:

  • Patterned injuries or bruises. These are any marks that look suspiciously uniform, i.e. not self-inflicted by an accidental bump or fall. Pay attention to any bruises that look like grasping fingers and hands. Ligature marks and “stocking-glove” burn patterns–burn patterns present on extremities only that suggest forced immersion in hot water–may also be cause for alarm.
  • Missing or over-administered medications.
  • An unkempt appearance (dirty clothes, messy hair) and/or sudden, unexplained weight loss.
  • Trauma symptoms, like rocking back and forth or being especially and unusually quick to anger.
  • The presence of bedsores.
  • Signs of depression. Withdrawing, trouble sleeping, increased irritability, and a sudden lack of interest in his or her favorite pastimes may indicate depression resulting from abuse.
  • If caregivers refuse to leave you alone with your loved one for any reason and they do so regularly, keep an eye out for other signs of neglect or abuse.

As many as one in 10 elders suffer from physical abuse, and up to 25% may experience emotional or psychological abuse during their stay at nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Don’t let your loved one suffer in silence. Work with an experienced elder abuse lawyer to determine the best course of action.

It is often best–and sometimes required–for doctors and/or elder abuse lawyers to officially report abuse, sparing your loved one from confrontation or shame.

Look for the signs above and be proactive. It is best to protect aging parents and dependent loved ones from harm than to keep it quiet out of uncertainty or fear. The definition of elder abuse is broad, and elder abuse lawyers are more than willing to help you. Remember, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the World Health Organization’s (WHO) official definition of elder abuse is:

“A single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person.

If that definition applies to a beloved elder or dependent adult in your life, contact a attorney immediately.