Don’t let abusers get away with their heinous actions and your elder’s
fortune. Financial compensation may never reverse the abuse your elder has faced, but it can lighten the fiscal burden such abuse has caused. Contact a San Diego elder abuse lawyer by calling us today.
Seniors deserve proper care and the expectation of decency surrounding their health, their finances, and their health. Unfortunately, elder abuse is very real and strikes at too many of the hundreds of thousands of elderly San Diegans.
If you choose to proceed with any type of elder abuse case, a San Diego elder abuse attorney can help. We have 30 years of experience winning hundreds of thousands of dollars for our elderly clients who were abused physically, psychologically, or financially. No type of elder abuse is justifiable and we will make sure you and your loved ones gain the maximum amount of compensation possible from an abusive caregiver, nursing home, or defrauder.
San Diego’s Elder Population
San Diego’s elder population has been booming and as it grows, so do the cases of elder abuse.
The total population of the San Diego region blossomed by 15 percent between 2000 and 2010. Today, more than 3.2 million people living in the San Diego area. During that decade, the number of San Diego residents who were 65 years of age or older has grown by more than 60,000 to 378,604 while the number of San Diegans 75 years old and over has grown by nearly 40,000 to 191,037.
In the county of San Diego, which ranks as the nation’s fifth-largest county and California’s second-largest, the median age of the population has been slowly ticking up as the elderly have increasingly been blessed with extended life expectancies. Between 2000 and 2010, the median age of San Diego County residents rose from 33.2 years to 35.3 years. By 2030, the median age of San Diego County residents is projected to jump to 37.4 years.
San Diego County faces rampant population growth and projections show that the general population will grow at a rate of 38 percent between 2000 and 2030. The population growth rate of seniors in San Diego County is expected to outstrip the rate of the general population by more than double. By 2030, the 60+ and 65+ population are both projected to grow by 130 percent while the 75 years and older population is expected to grow by 111 percent.
As the baby boomer generation ages, the senior population will swell. The county of San Diego handles 9,000 cases of elder abuse every year. With a larger and larger elder population every year, incidents of elder abuse are bound to leap.
Signs of Elder Abuse
Elder abuse can take the forms of physical abuse, mental abuse, financial abuse, and neglect. Caregivers or people who have developed a relationship based on trust with the elder are most likely to commit one or several of the many kinds of elder abuse.
The most visible form of elder abuse is physical abuse. Any abuse that harms an elder physically falls under this category. Warning signs of this type of abuse can encompass something as small as bruises, skin discoloration, welts, or swelling or as severe as burns, lacerations, fractures, or abrasions.
Sometimes the physical abuse is not manifested prominently or visible on the senior. For example, sexual assault and abuse can be incredibly traumatizing for the elder but may not be immediately recognized or identified by someone else. Burns caused by rugs, ropes, and cigarettes as well as other marks on the skin may be covered up or hidden from view. Body tenderness and pain can also be warning signs but one would not be able to know unless the elder were closely examined or the elder were to speak of the abuse.
Physical abuse can also lead to mood swings and erratic behavior in the elder. He or she may feel the need to withdraw or display signs of depression.
If an elder is faced with traumatizing events such as coercion, intimidation, or various kinds of violent threats, he or she suffers mental abuse and cruelty.
These encounters can cause the elder to feel frightened, confused, or alienated. The senior may exhibit signs of anxiety or depression and his or her behavior may seem to have been dramatically altered.
An elder that is happy, joyous, and affable one day and introverted, closed off, and withdrawn the next could be the victim of elder abuse. He or she will usually feel afraid to be touched or not want to be spoken to.
Elders are at an elevated risk of financial abuse. Because of their age, elders have usually accumulated life savings and are most often on sound financial ground after they retire. Due to their declining mental and physical facilities, elders are a popular target of scams, fraud, and theft.
Victims of elder financial abuse can have their property, assets, or money taken from them without their consent. Defrauders may pressure the senior to take out an unfavorable loan with high interest or fees. Abusers can also take advantage of seniors by coercing them into bad investments or into having the elder transfer stocks or real estate to the abuser.
Seniors can be subject to burglaries, forgeries, fraud, or scams that come in a variety of different forms. Scams target the elderly through the mail, by phone, or through the Internet and email. A senior could lose his or her life savings from this kind of abuse, which may be perpetrated by someone close to the elder or a stranger.
The San Diego District Attorney has recently warned of the upswing in the cases of the “Grandma Scam,” which targets the elderly for money. Imposters bilk seniors of cash by pretending to be a grandchild in trouble and in need of financial assistance. The “Grandma Scam” has netted criminals $2.9 billion a year from elders who are mostly in their 80s and who live alone and require some sort of elder care.
Some of the most prevalent cases of elder abuse involve a perpetrator who is entrusted to care for the senior such as a caretaker or a family member.
The caretaker can neglect the elder by failing to properly assist with personal hygiene, clothing, bathing, food, or other health needs and necessities. If so, the elder may show signs of poor hygiene, poor health, malnutrition, or withdrawal and depression. Abusers will sometimes have issues of their own, such as with alcohol, drugs, violence, or anger management. More extreme examples of neglect include abandoning the elder and abducting him or her.
Reporting Elder Abuse
If you are a witness to or victim of elder abuse, or know someone who is a victim, you are encouraged to call the San Diego Sheriff’s Department at 1-858-565-5200 or the Elder Abuse Hotline at 1-800-510-2020.
Reports of elder abuse should be directed to local law enforcement agencies. Many of these bureaus have special units that investigate elder abuse, like the San Diego District Attorney’s Elder Abuse Unit or the San Diego County Aging and Independence Services.
Why Hire a San Diego Elder Abuse Attorney
Oftentimes, simply reporting elder abuse is not enough in bringing the abuser to justice.
If the abuser(s) is a caregiver or are a group of several employees of a nursing home or care facility, the authorities will prosecute them to the full extent of the law for criminal offenses. However, if you chose to proceed with a civil lawsuit, you will need a lawyer.
Many times, elder abuse will result in a financial conundrum. If the abuse is physical, the elder will may require treatment, medication, and a hospital stay resulting in hefty medical bills. If the abuse is financial, the elder and his or her family may lose large amounts of money.
A San Diego elder abuse attorney will help elder abuse victims with recovering compensation or other monetary arrangements to offset the financial damage that the abuse has wrought.
Elder victims and their loved ones could recoup compensatory and punitive damages as well as court costs and attorney’s fees in the case of nursing home abuse and neglect. A San Diego elder abuse lawyer will be a crucial asset in helping to gather evidence and arguing your case in court should an elder have suffered from sores, malnutrition or weight loss, injury, or death at a care center.
In the event of financial abuse where the elder is pressured into a bad financial position, defrauded, or scammed, a San Diego elder abuse attorney can help to file a civil complaint and recoup money and assets lost as a result of the abuse.