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San Francisco California Elder Abuse Law Blog

Nursing home negligence harms senior citizens

Long-term care facilities have very specific duties that they must complete for the residents. These individuals pay to be cared for in a certain way at the facility. The level of care depends on the ability of the resident and how much self-care they can manage. Unfortunately, there are sometimes residents in these facilities that don't get the care they need. This can be the result of negligence.

One troubling thing about nursing home negligence is that the residents suffer and the facility still receives its pay. There is no reason for these elderly individuals to pay for services they aren't getting. This atrocity has to be stopped in its tracks so that the elderly individuals no longer face harm.

The many faces of nursing home abuse and neglect

 The day comes that your father or mother can no longer take care of themselves. You have the choice to hire in-home care, have them move in with you or send them to live in a nursing home. If you chose the latter, you want to make sure your loved one’s care is top of mind for the caregiver -- and treated as if you were caring for them yourself. The worst thing to imagine, is abuse.

Whether the abuse comes in the form of physical, emotional, sexual, caregiver neglect, financial exploitation or health care fraud, it does happen. Therefore, doing your research and vetting the potential nursing home is very important.

Senior citizen abuse can be far reaching

Elder abuse is a huge problem because it puts those who are most vulnerable at even more risk of suffering greatly due to the abuse. While anyone is a potential victim of abuse, females are the majority of the victims. The abusers in these cases vary greatly. Sometimes, the person is the spouse or a family member. It is also possible that the person who is mistreating the elderly person might be a nursing home staff member or someone else who is paid to care for the senior citizen.

There are many different types of elder abuse that might occur. Physical abuse involves a bodily injury caused by things like being hit or pushed. Financial abuse means that a person is misusing the senior citizen's assets, which can include coercing them to change an estate plan. Emotional abuse has to do with causing distress or anguish. Abandonment and sexual abuse are also possible.

3 ways to protect your elders from financial abuse

According to a report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), elder financial abuse is on the rise. The Bureau says that suspicious activity reports involving elder financial abuse increased by a factor of four from 2013 through 2017. For California residents with elderly family members, this increase is a significant cause for alarm.

Senior citizens are ideal targets for financial abuse, especially if they insist on remaining in charge of their finances. Unfortunately, their family members often do not recognize potential abuse until the damage has already occurred. However, you can help keep your loved one's finances safe from such abuse while preserving the independence your loved ones deserve.

  1. Ease into discussions about your elder's finances slowly. If you appear to completely take over their financial responsibilities, you may encounter resistance. Some people request financial advice from their elders as a way to get these discussions started.
  2. Suggest to your elders that it would make you feel better if they put certain legal documents in place. Examples of such documents include powers of attorney, wills and/or trusts and health care directives. If your elders realize that your concern is real, they may be more open to taking these steps.
  3. Explain how streamlining their finances can help your elders keep an accurate track of how their money is used. Making money management as simple as possible helps your elders or you identify unusual transactions. Simplification will likely free up at least some of the time normally spent on bookkeeping, enabling your elders to engage in more enjoyable activities instead.

Recent details about the Stan Lee elder abuse case

Since the massive success of the Marvel film franchise over the past decade, Stan Lee has become a household name. Before the release of the films, many already revered Mr. Lee for his significant contributions to the comic book industry. These contributions include the creation of popular comics such as the X-Men, Spider-Man and a great many other Marvel Comics.

The legendary Mr. Lee passed away in November of 2018. Unfortunately, his death occurred amid rumors that he was the victim of elder abuse. Reportedly, the man who served as Mr. Lee's advisor and caregiver since the death of his wife perpetrated this abuse.

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
  • 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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