World Elder Abuse Awareness Day took place earlier this month — and is recognized each year on June 15 — but it’s important to focus attention on the problem of physical, emotional, and financial abuse of elders every day.
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, about 5 million cases of elder abuse occur every year; however, only about one in every 23 cases get reported. It can happen in a nursing home, in the home of your loved ones by an in-home nurse, or ever over the phone or on the Internet.
At Chain | Cohn | Stiles, our attorneys for decades have focused on helping victims and families who have experienced elder abuse. In fact, David Stiles, who serves as “of counsel” at the law firm, has been recognized as one of the most respected elder abuse lawyers in California.
Elder abuse can take many forms:
- Physical Abuse: Physically harming an elderly person, by a caregiver for example.
- Emotional Abuse: Mentally harming an elderly person by insulting him or her, or talking down to the victim.
- Sexual Abuse: Touching of a victim inappropriately by a caregiver and without consent.
- Exploitation: Tricking an elderly person into giving them money or property rights, and taking advantage for profit.
- Neglect and Abandonment: Disregarding the needs of an elderly person, and leaving him or her alone for long periods of time with no help.
Unfortunately, elder abuse can take place at any time, and it can happen to anyone, and that’s why it is important to be aware of it. Here are a few warning signs, courtesy of National Center on Elder Abuse, to keep a watchful eye:
- Unexplained bruises or welts on their body.
- Loved ones becoming isolated or not allowed to contact family.
- Caregiver is overly controlling or verbally abusive.
- Bruises around pelvic and genitalia areas, or unexplained sexually transmitted diseases.
- Sudden changes in loved one’s finances.
- Ulcers from not being moved around properly, malnutrition and lack of basic hygiene.
Currently, Chain | Cohn | Stiles is representing the family of a man who drowned while unsupervised in a senior living facility in Bakersfield formerly known as Glenwood Gardens.
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was launched in 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations. Its purpose is to “provide an opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect.”
— By Marisol Earnest for Chain | Cohn | Stiles