Articles Posted in Elder Abuse

christian-langballe-78684-copy-300x200There may come a time when you have to put mom or dad, or grandma or grandpa, into a care facility. It is never your first choice, yet it is often the best one. Your elderly loved ones may need more physical support, supervision, and medical care than you are capable of giving them. By letting your loved one continue to live at home or with you, you are actually doing him or her a disservice and increasing the risk of negative health effects or early death. However, there are a number of practical questions that arise after you have decided a facility is best for your loved one, including:

  • What are his or her needs?
  • What care facilities are available and how do they differ?

mark-rabe-240392-copy-300x200Cheryl and Eric Mills were arrested for kidnapping and elder abuse after suddenly removing an elderly relative from a care facility without permission. Police found the Mills and the elderly individual 90 miles away from the care home in Stockton. The 88-year-old victim was not harmed during the incident, but the individual has continuous health concerns and is unable to give consent, according to a detective on the case. Neither of the Mills had permission to remove the individual from the facility and did not have the capability to care for the elderly person as was necessary.

Civil Liability for Elder Abuse

When an elderly individual is abused by a relative, caretaker, or other person and suffers physical, psychological, or financial injuries, he or she has the right to pursue compensation through a personal injury claim. Any person who harms an elderly person can be held civilly liable in court for the economic and non-economic damages associated with the abuse. For instance, if the Mills had harmed their elderly relative during this incident, the individual would have had a cause of action against them.

cristian-newman-63291-199x300When you have elderly parents in nursing homes, it can be difficult to monitor their health and safety. You are not around every day to ensure that they get enough food and water, are properly bathed, receive their medications, and are not neglected or abused. You may not even be able to see your loved ones each week if you live far away. This can enable nursing home staff and others to take advantage of your parent’s situation, either neglecting to give them the care they need or emotionally, physically, or sexually abusing them. If you have begun to notice signs of abuse when you visit, you are probably wondering what you should do. Where do you turn when the people who are supposed to care for your loved ones are harming them?

If you suspect your elderly mother or father is being abused at their care facility, take the following steps:

  • Speak with a facility administrator: If you believe something is wrong, you need to speak with the management of the facility as soon as possible. This is the best time to gauge their reaction and take careful note of how they try to rectify – or explain away – the situation. If you see no changes in the following days or weeks, move head through more formal channels.

zi8-e3qj_rm-cristian-newman-300x199Urinary tract infections can pose a serious threat to the health of an elderly individual. While both men and women may get a UTI once or a few times throughout their lives, this infection should be caught as early as possible and treated right away. Without prompt and appropriate care, individuals suffering from UTIs can go on to have more complex and harmful complications, such as acute or chronic kidney infection, permanent kidney damage, urethral narrowing, and sepsis, according to Mayo Clinic. In elderly individuals, these complications are not only painful, they can result in early death.

The Elderly are at Risk for UTIs

Unfortunately, many elderly individuals are at a high risk of UTIs because of negligent care and abuse at nursing homes. UTIs are caused by bacteria entering the urinary tract and bladder through the urethra. While our bodies are meant to be able to combat dangerous bacteria, sometimes this is not possible due to medical conditions, prescription drugs, and other factors.

alvaro-serrano-133360-copy-300x200If you are a devoted grandparent or your elderly mom or dad dotes on your kids, you need to be aware of how this love and affection can be manipulated. Over the years, more and more elderly people have been targeted by what is known as a grandparent scam. In this situation, someone poses as a grandchild to fraudulently obtain money from the elderly person. This ruse can go on for months and cost elderly grandparents hundreds or thousands of dollars, seriously putting their finances at risk. Once the fraud is discovered, there is often little the elderly individual can do to recover. By learning more about this scam and educating your elderly loved ones, you can avoid being the victim of financial elder abuse.

How the Grandparent Scam Works

An individual posing as a grand- or great-grandchild phone, emails, or writes to an elderly person. This individual says they are in some sort of trouble, maybe they were arrested and they need bail or despite working hard, their bills have gotten away from them. Whatever the story, this individual may spin a tale that makes them look in need, yet not at fault for their circumstances. After their sad story is complete, they imply that they could use some help. They may be sold bold as to imply or outright state that if grandma or grandpa sent them some money, they could get themselves back on track. Many elderly grandparents are so distraught to hear their grandkids are in trouble, they are willing to do whatever they can to help. They do not think twice about checking with other family members about their supposed grandchild’s story. Ultimately, grandma or grandpa may end up mailing a check, giving over their credit card or banking information, or purchasing and sending store gift cards.

zi8-e3qj_rm-cristian-newman-300x199Many of us have become familiar with dementia because we may have witnessed its effect first hand in a parent or grandparent. The condition, which is both chronic and progressive, affects about 47 million people worldwide. Millions of those individuals are right here in the U.S. and in California. Dementia affects all aspects of an individual’s life, from memory, the ability to think clearly, and the ability to live independently and perform everyday tasks. While many elderly people can initially live alone or with a spouse in the early stages of dementia, the disease usually progresses to the point of the individual requiring constant in-home care or to live in a nursing home. It is at this time that the elderly become vulnerable to abuse and neglect.

Rates of Dementia in the U.S.

As the Baby Boomer generation ages, many in the medical and public health professions worry that the rate of dementia will skyrocket. However, it looks like dementia rates in the U.S. are actually falling. A study by researchers at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, observed 21,000 U.S. adults over the age of 65 between 2000 and 2012. The study uncovered that the rate of dementia decreased 24% during this time period. It was 11.6% in 2000 and 8.8% in 2012. In 2000, the average age at diagnosis was 80.7 years and by 2012, the average age rose to 82.4 years.

christian-langballe-78684-copy-300x200Elderly individuals in California often become isolated over time. As family members and friends pass away, become less mobile, or move away, older individuals may find themselves living alone with few, if any, people to interact with. This isolation can lead to significant mental and physical ailments and puts individuals at risk for neglect and abuse by caretakers and financial scams. Fighting elderly isolation is essential in improving older individual’s health as well as protecting them from neglect and abuse.

Many of California’s Elderly Live in Isolation

It is not simply that we think elderly individuals are more likely to suffer mental health issues or additional physical medical problems, it is a statistical fact. Research conducted by the University of California, San Francisco, found that 18% of seniors in the state live alone and 43% reported feeling lonely on a regular basis. The same study found older individuals who reported feeling lonely had an increased risk of death by 45% and isolated elderly had a 59% higher risk of mental and physical decline compared to more social older individuals. Physicians across the state regularly witness the negative effects of isolation, which greatly contribute to an early death.

taduuda-76960-copy-300x200Three Sonoma County contractors are facing up to 50 felony and misdemeanor charges after an investigation led by the California Contractors State License Board found they were scamming customers. Some of the charges include grand theft, burglary, diversion of construction funds, conspiracy, and elder abuse.

Contractors Took Advantage of Clients

Tony Joseph Goodwin and Samuel Williams of Goodwin Millworks are accused of taking advantage of private consumers and non-profit organizations that house citizens with developmental disabilities. They are accused of unlawfully obtaining about $566,000 from their victims. The non-profits paid more than $460,000 for work on two different homes, which were abandoned by the contractors. They then had to pay an additional $685,000 to another contractor to complete the unfinished work.

b3ims-0adiw-frantzou-fleurine-300x140Elder neglect and abuse are a growing concern around the country. As of mid-2014, there were 46.2 million individuals in the U.S. over the age of 65 and by 2060, that number is projected to grow to 98.2 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. At that point, almost one in four U.S. residents will be elderly, and 19.7 million of them will be 85 years or older. As our population ages, these individuals become more vulnerable to physical and emotional neglect as well as physical, emotional, and financial abuse. However, there are ways to remain vigilant and prevent seniors from being hurt and taken advantage of. Isolation is one of the consistent signs that elder neglect or abuse is happening.

Who Can Isolate Your Loved One

Isolation can begin as minor changes in your loved one’s life until it becomes so extreme, your elderly family member or friend has little to no contact with others. This isolation can be caused by a family member, romantic partner, caregiver, or anyone who establishes a relationship of trust with your loved one like neighbors. Workers who your loved one sees consistently over time like bank tellers and grocery store clerks can also become overly involved in your loved one’s life and isolate them for financial gain.

freestocks-org-126848-copy-300x200Coumadin and other blood thinners are commonly used by elderly individuals. These individuals are often prescribed this type of medication to reduce the chance of heart attack, stroke, and other major medical events. However, blood thinners are serious medications and patients taking them need to be closely monitored by a physician or nursing home staff. Being on this type of medication when it is unnecessary or taking too much can lead to injuries and fatalities. In fact, ProPublica and The Washington Post found that 165 nursing home residents were hospitalized or died after suffering from Coumadin, or the generic Warfarin, errors between 2011 and 2014. These incidents are preventable when elderly patients are given proper care.

The Dangers of Failing to Monitor Blood Thinners

Coumadin has well-documented benefits. However, when patients are given too much or too little of a blood thinner, they are put at risk for serious health issues and early death. For instance, when patients who are at risk for negative health events are given too low of a dosage or not given their prescribed medication, they remain highly at risk for blood clots, stroke, and heart attack. When elderly individuals are prescribed or unnecessarily given too much of a blood thinner, they can suffer internal bleeding. Warfarin can also dangerously interact with other medications like commonly prescribed antibiotics. If physicians and other nursing home staff are not on the lookout for common medication interactions, then elderly patients are seriously at risk for injuries.