It appears that almost every week, we see some sprightly, newly-minted centenarian in the newspaper or on the evening news being feted and toasted by the Governor General while his or her relatives through the generations look on elatedly.
We read or watch in awe or with a sense of inspiration as they attribute their longevity to the blessings of God, maintaining healthy lifestyles and, most importantly, the enduring love, care and support of a spouse and other cherished loved ones.
However, these people who are adequately and lovingly nurtured and cared for by either family members or professionals represent only a fraction of the growing elderly population we have in California. Even though it has existed for quite some time now, abuse of elderly persons is increasingly being brought to light.
Elder abuse can be broadly defined as the deliberate neglect and mistreatment of an elderly person, especially one who is no longer in a position (either physically or mentally) to take care of himself and depends on another person to provide this function.
Like domestic abuse, there are different types of geriatric abuse:
- Physical abuse. – This refers to the deliberate use of unnecessary force, restraint or confinement against the victim. Actions include hitting, pushing and also the malicious or inappropriate administration of drugs and medication.
- Sexual abuse. – This includes most obviously attempting to or engaging in sexual activity against the victim’s will, as well as showing him or her pornographic material or forcing the individual to watch sex acts.
- Neglect. – This is failure of the caretaker to perform the duties of his or her job and refusing to provide the (level of) care deserving of and needed by the victim.
- Financial abuse and exploitation. – This is the dishonest access to and use of the victim’s funds. These include cash, cheques (personal, disability, pension, etc.) credit cards, forgery of the victim’s signature and identity theft.
Emotional abuse. – This refers to those actions which cause emotional or psychological distress or anguish. This can be further divided into two categories: Verbal abuse, including yelling, cursing, insulting, etc. and non-verbal abuse, such as ignoring the individual or isolating him from the outside world.
Here in California, some people have taken to essentially “dumping” their elderly relatives at Skilled Nursing Facilities, Geriatric Hospital and Psychiatric Hospitals because they either can’t be bothered, or in some cases, don’t have the necessary money or help to provide the care that is needed.
Often times they are left lonely and forgotten; putting the burden of the Government. It is truly a very sad and disheartening reality. No one disputes the fact that caring for an elderly person can be tiring and at times frustrating, but their abuse never should be allowed to happen in the first place, much less continue.
Nevertheless, we should remember to give due credit and praise to those who go above and beyond to put the time and effort into making the remaining years of these people as enjoyable and stress-free as possible, and hope that the instances of abuse eventually become few and far in between.
Those of us who have elderly relatives should always be vigilant for warning signs and irregularities in their appearance and attitudes and report these instances to the necessary authorities to ensure that they are not encouraged to continue.
Let us respect and revere our grandparents and great-grandparents; treat them the way you would want to be treated at their age, as they were the ones who worked so hard many years ago to build a society which we now enjoy. As the theme song of that old commercial goes, “Don’t abandon them, lend a helping hand and remember they are treasures of our land”.
Should you have an issue concerning elder abuse or neglect you will need the services of an attorney, immediately then contact Steven Peck’s Premier Legal toll free at 1-866-999-9085.
About the Author
Attorney Steven Peck has been practicing law since 1981. A former successful business owner, Mr. Peck initially focused his legal career on business law. Within the first three years, after some colleagues and friend’s parents endured nursing home neglect and elder abuse, he continued his education to begin practicing elder law and nursing home abuse law.