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San Francisco California Elder Abuse Law Blog

Kathryn Stebner receives award for her work representing elders

The Stebner and Associates law firm is proud to announce that the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association (SFTLA) has recently honored one of its most dedicated lawyers and elder advocates. The Association chose Kathryn Stebner as the most recent recipient of its Civil Justice Award.

As a member of the SFTLA and an advocate for elders, Ms. Stebner is pleased to receive this award. A large part of her nomination for the honor stemmed from her efforts to hold the Oakmont Senior Living facility responsible for a devastating fire that occurred in 2017. She filed a negligence lawsuit on behalf of the residents of Oakmont. In 2018, her efforts paid off when she secured a settlement for the residents and their families.

What are some examples of elder financial scams?

Many cases of elder financial abuse involve a caregiver or even a trusted family member, but California's elder population can also suffer such abuse from strangers. Scams and schemes that target the elderly run rampant in the nation, often leading to total depletion of a senior's life savings.

The following section contains a list of several common financial scams against the elderly, according to the National Council on Aging.

Third suspect arrested for involvement with San Francisco scams

Last Christmas Eve, authorities arrested two women on their way to Hong Kong as suspects for a scamming practice targeting elderly Chinese women. A few weeks ago, a third woman was arrested for alleged involvement with the blessing scam.

The scheme involved convincing elderly Chinese women that a healer could mend their physical ailments. Scammers would convince the women to bring valuables in a bag to a location for a blessing. A “healer” would put a blessing on the valuables and banish the ghost or spirit that was causing their ailments. During the “ritual” the scammers would switch the valuable bags with a ringer, tell the mark to leave without looking into the bag and keep the valuables.

Burns in elderly California nursing home patients

We place our elderly loved ones in long-term care facilities to ensure that they have the care needed to live out their lives in comfort and contentment. In most cases, our elders need assistance with day-to-day activities that we cannot provide at home because most of us have jobs to attend. You may already be aware that long-term care facility neglect can harm our loved ones in many ways. Suffering severe burn injuries is an often-overlooked area of concern for these patients.

Burns can occur in several different ways inside a nursing facility. For example, if staff members serve food or beverages that are too hot, patients could suffer burns. Older patients are typically more susceptible to burns and often have a difficult time recovering from burn injuries. Long-term care facility neglect is a real problem in terms of protecting older family members from burns and ensuring they receive treatment for burns.

Psychological abuse hurts aging nursing home residents

As our elders begin to need daily assistance, many of us start to research nursing homes and assisted living facilities. We all want our older family members to receive proper care but we also want them to feel happy and fulfilled. You probably already know how physical elder abuse can injure or even kill older California residents, but psychological or emotional abuse also causes serious damage to these vulnerable members of society.

Cruelty and emotional abuse leave no physical scars to alert us to any danger our elders may be facing. Since older people typically want to minimize the worry their families feel, they may not report the abusive behaviors. These two factors can make it difficult to spot psychological abuse. Therefore, we must look deeper so that we can distinguish normal aging behaviors from signs of harmful emotional trauma. These signs include the following.

  • Sudden or unexplained fearfulness
  • Reduced participation in enjoyable activities
  • Loss of interest in one's self
  • Difficulty making eye contact, especially with a care provider
  • Unexplained confusion or paranoia
  • Withdrawal, resignation and other unusual reactions to the environment

How can elders in San Francisco avoid financial abuse?

As you probably know, there exists a vast assortment of unscrupulous individuals and companies that target elders in financial abuse activities. From financial scams by agencies to individuals preying on older California residents, the problem of financial abuse is real and requires immediate attention. Elders typically exist on fixed incomes and cannot afford to lose even one dollar of their financial resources.

To keep things as simple as possible, elder law attorneys often recommend a two-pronged approach to preventing financial abuse. First, elders and their families need to identify potentially nefarious programs or investments. Second, it is wise to gain an education about handling money in one's elder years. An attorney can provide assistance with both of these goals.

Long-term care facility neglect and bedsores

Did you know that the development of bedsores (aka pressure ulcers) is a preventable phenomenon? The presence of bedsores is a massive problem in California nursing homes, leading family members to believe that the issue is unavoidable. In truth, when residents suffer from ongoing and persistent bedsores, it may indicate that long-term care facility neglect is the true culprit.

It is safe to assume that most nursing home workers care about their patients and work hard to make residents healthy, safe and comfortable. Unfortunately, many of these facilities are understaffed. When there are not enough employees to go around, the risk of long-term care facility neglect leading to patient health concerns increases.

How can families research nursing homes to avoid elder abuse?

When the time comes to place a beloved family member into a nursing facility, you may experience a great deal of apprehension. After all, the news media is full of disturbing reports about elder abuse in these facilities. Families often worry that they will inadvertently expose their elders to such abuse.

Unfortunately, you cannot always know whether your family member experiences mistreatment after becoming a resident. However, you can stack the odds in your favor by doing a little research. Below you will find four free resources to assist you when looking into the background of California nursing homes.

The elderly are often targets of financial abuse

Elderly people are some of the most vulnerable residents of San Francisco. They are at risk of suffering physical and emotional abuse, but those aren't the only ways that a nefarious individual can abuse the elderly. Financial exploitation is also a common form of elder abuse. From unauthorized check cashing to coercing an elderly person to give away their property, financial abuse of the elderly is a serious problem.

Knowing how this abuse occurs can go a long way in protecting elderly citizens. When family members understand how their loved ones become targets of financial abuse, they are better able to take preventative measures. This knowledge can also help them hold the abuser legally responsible for their crimes.

  • SFTLA | San Francisco Trail Lawyers Association
  • Canhr | Elder Justice Advocates
  • Super Lawyers
  • The Bar Association Of San Francisco
  • Consumer Attorneys Of California
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