In the recent decades, much has been done to shed light on the prevalence of child abuse and domestic violence. While we would all agree that the efforts to bring the abuse of innocent and vulnerable women and children to the attention of the country, there is still one segment of the population that continues to suffer abuse and neglect at an alarming rate. Abuse and neglect of the elderly has reached epidemic proportions by most experts’ estimates. Due to the huge percentage of incidents of abuse and neglect that go unreported, exact figures are hard to come by, but estimates put the number of Americans over the age of 65 that are abused or neglected each year at over one million. Considering the fact that our senior citizen population continues to grow, we can expect that number to grow as well unless something is done to protect them.
The percentage of the population in the United States that is age 65 or older has tripled in the last one hundred years. Thanks to longer life expectancies, better medical care and a generally better standard of living, many of us are living well into our 80’s and 90’s and beyond. This should be wonderful news. Unfortunately, for some, it creates another segment of the population to exploit. As out grandparents and then out parents get older, we are faced with decisions regarding their care. For those that are lucky enough to have the time, money and resources to care for an elderly loved one at home, the decision is easy. For others that are forced to seek outside help to care for an aging loved one, the decision can be heart wrenching and difficult. The options are endless for care of the elderly – family caregivers, private nurse caregivers, retirement homes and nursing homes are all options for the care of the elderly. But what if you suspect that your loved one is not getting the care that they need and deserve? The very vulnerabilities that require them to need care in the first place are also what make them easy prey for caregivers to abuse, mistreat or neglect our loved ones.
Signs of physical abuse may be easier to spot then signs of neglect, but make no mistake that neglect of the elderly can have tragic consequences as well. That old saying that tells us “If something doesn’t seem right – it probably isn’t” truly applies in these situations. Elder neglect can come in a variety of forms. Examples include: failure to provide necessary medications or over medication sedate the patient; failure to bathe the patient or provide clean linens or clothing; failure to provide sufficient exercise for the patient; insufficient nutrition; and failure to contact family or medical personnel when needed or requested. If you suspect that your loved one is being neglected, you may want to contact the facilities’ supervisor, the caregiver’s supervisor in the case of a private nurse or the Adult Protective Services in your area. If none of these solutions solve the problem, or if you still feel that legal action is necessary, then you should contact a California elder abuse attorney. Neglect may rise to the level of legal negligence and therefore can be the basis for a civil lawsuit to recoup damages for the injuries your loved one has suffered. For a free detailed evaluation of you California elder neglect case, please contact the law firm of Ledger & Associates. For over a decade, attorney Emery ledger has been fighting for the rights of victims. He can be reached at 1-800-300-0001 or at www.ledgerlaw.com