Frequently Asked Questions
- How common is elder abuse?
Elder abuse is a pervasive and growing problem. According to the Senate Special Committee on Aging, as many as five million Americans are the victims of elder abuse each year. However, most victims suffer in silence, as only 16 percent of abusive situations are referred for help.
Elder abuse is defined in California Welfare & Inst. Code § 15610.07 as physical abuse, neglect, financial abuse, abandonment, isolation, abduction, or other treatment resulting in physical harm or pain or mental suffering; or the deprivation by a care custodian of goods or services that are necessary to avoid physical harm or mental suffering.
Elder abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of their ethnic background, sex, or social status. Unfortunately, many victims of elder abuse are abused by the very people they trust the most. Family members, caregivers, and financial advisors are common perpetrators of elder abuse.
Nursing home abuse or neglect is a serious and often underreported problem. According to the National Academy of Sciences Panel to Review Risk and Prevalence of Elder Abuse and Neglect, the major underlying causes of mistreatment in nursing homes are:
- Stressful working conditions, including staff shortages
- Job burnout
- Inadequate staff training
What are common signs of elder abuse or neglect?
Signs of mistreatment are often very subtle. Victims may be reluctant to report abuse for fear of retaliation, or may be physically unable to communicate. Signs of abuse include:
- Bruising, bedsores, pressure marks, burns or abrasions
- Withdrawal from normal activities, depression or a change in alertness
- Poor hygiene, sudden weight loss
- Strained, tense relationships with a caregiver or others
- Sudden changes in estate or financial planning, including changing beneficiaries, transferring assets, deeding of property or gifting of assets
What should I do if I suspect abuse or neglect?
If you suspect abuse or neglect, seek assistance and attempt to intervene.
- For abuse or neglect involving a Residential Care Facility for the Elderly (RCFE), or Assisted Living Facility, contact the California Department of Social Services (DSS) at www.ccl.dss.cahwnet.gov or (323) 980-4934 (Los Angeles Facilities) or (714) 703-2840 (Orange County Facilities)
- For abuse or neglect involving a nursing home, contact the California Department of Public Health (DPH) at www.cdph.ca.gov or (800) 236-9747.
- Become more involved in the elder’s care; talk to the doctors, nurses, aides, and nursing home administrator
- Visit the nursing home unannounced
- Photograph injuries
- Speak to the ombudsman
- Contact a lawyer with elder law expertise
To learn how Moran Law can help you take legal action, contact a Los Angeles Elder Abuse Lawyer at the firm today at