Elders and dependent adults represent an especially vulnerable group of people. This is because physical and mental limitations often make elderly and dependent individuals a target for abuse. Elder abuse can come in many forms, sometimes at the hands of family members, caregivers or other professionals. For this reason, concerned relatives and providers should be aware of common signs of elder abuse. Spotting the early signs of abuse can keep your loved one safe and happy.
Unfortunately, elder abuse is a common occurrence. If you suspect your loved one is suffering, you should report the suspected conduct immediately. Below, our experienced elder abuse attorneys discuss how and when to report elder abuse in California.
What Constitutes Elder Abuse?
Elder abuse is any act which causes a senior to suffer. This can include mental, physical or financial suffering. Common types of elder abuse include:
- Psychological. Psychological abuse often involves intimidating, demeaning or threatening behaviors directed at a senior. These behaviors cause the victim to feel mental anguish.
- Physical. Physical abuse involves any type of physical assault inflicted upon a senior, including battery, sexual assault, or use of a physical or chemical restraint for punishment. Signs of physical abuse can include bruises, cuts or behaviors which indicate internal injuries.
- Financial. Seniors are particularly susceptible to financial fraud and con artist scams due to diminishing mental capacities. Financial abuse occurs when someone takes advantage of another person’s funds for a wrongful use, with intent to defraud, and/or by undue influence.
- Neglect. Forms of neglect can include abandonment and isolation, which causes a senior to suffer psychologically. Neglect can also be shown when a care provider fails to provide basic care, such as help with eating, transferring, walking, bathing, or turning and repositioning to avoid bedsores, all of which can also weigh on a senior’s mental and physical wellbeing.
What Are Common Signs of Elder Abuse?
There are many common signs which may indicate the presence of elder abuse. These signs include, but are not limited to:
- Poor hygiene
- Malnourishment and dehydration
- Injuries, like bruises or bed sores
- Unusual changes in mood or demeanor
- Withdrawal from others or from usual activities
- Difficulty speaking directly with the senior, either due to isolation or caregiver interference
- Changes in financial or estate planning situation
How Do I Report Elder Abuse in California?
If you see something, say something. You are the best advocate for protecting your loved one from elder abuse.
Contact the elder abuse hotline through Adult Protective Services to report elder abuse in California. This agency investigates reports of abuse for the elderly (aged 65+) as well as for dependent adults (aged 18-64 and disabled).
To get in touch with the right authorities, you will want to contact the appropriate county APS office. You must fill out either a general elder abuse form or an elder financial abuse form to submit an official report.
Protect Your Loved One From Elder Abuse in California
Caring for your loved one during his or her later years can be challenging. Your loved one may grow increasingly vulnerable with time, but you may not always be there to keep him or her safe. However, spotting the signs of elder abuse can prevent ongoing abuse. You can put a stop to these situations when you report elder abuse in California.