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Preventing Financial Elder Abuse in California: Keep an Eye on Credit

January 22, 2015

Financial abuse of elders is an unfortunate reality. In fact, elders are often specifically targeted by criminals looking to commit fraud and identity theft. There are many ways to prevent fraud and identity theft. It is important for elders, or their loved ones, to monitor their credit, and regularly review account statements to try to prevent or stop financial abuse.

All Californians are entitled to one free credit report per year credit-report-info.jpg from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. To get your free annual credit report visit www.annualcreditreport.com. This federal government approved website will enable you to pull your credit, or the credit of a loved senior, and receive a full report once each year.

While one free credit search is made available each year, elders would be smart to check their credit 2 or 3 times per year. Credit reports typically cost less than $20, and provide invaluable peace of mind by confirming that unauthorized accounts have not been opened, nor have illegitimate items been charged.

In addition to obtaining regular credit reports, it's a good idea to have duplicate copies of monthly account statements sent not only to the elder, but to their trusted Financial Advisor, attorney, CPA, or a trusted family member. This will provide additional confirmation that all charges appear accurate, nobody has acquired the account number, and it is not being used without the consent of the elder.

Warning signs of fraud on bank statements may include:

*Withdrawals from outside of the elder's primary area residence;

*Repeated withdrawals, particularly if the elder spends most of their time at home; and

*Checks written to unusual or unfamiliar people, organizations, or stores.

Keeping an eye on credit is important for Californians of all ages. However, it is especially important to monitor credit statements and account balances for elders who may have declining mental capacities, or medical conditions such as dementia that put them at greater risk for becoming a victim of financial elder abuse.

If you suspect, or confirm that your loved elder is the victim of financial abuse in California there are certain steps you should take. You may report any suspicion of abuse to the National Elder Abuse Hotline at 1-800-677-1116. In California, reports can be made to the local county Adult Protective Services Agency or to local law enforcement.

Continue reading "Preventing Financial Elder Abuse in California: Keep an Eye on Credit " »

Preventing Financial Elder Abuse: Tips For Securing Sensitive Information

January 8, 2015

There are plenty of opportunists (read: criminals) looking for ways to obtain the sensitive, personal information of seniors. From digging through trash, to stealing from mailboxes, identity theft is alive and well in 2015. Many criminals specifically seek out the information of California seniors, who may be more vulnerable to having their identity stolen.

While there is no foolproof way to guarantee that your private information (date of birth, bank account numbers, social security number, etc.) won't fall into the hands of someone with bad intentions, there are things you can do to reduce the likelihood that you or an elder you love will fall prey to identity theft.

1. Shred Everything
All homes should have a paper shredder. Any documents mailbox 2.jpg with identifying information should be shredded after they are no longer needed. This includes bank statements, loan statements, mortgage statements, credit card bills, health/medical records, and any other documents which provide personal identifiers.

2. Consider Renting A Post Office Box
Unsecured mail is targeted by identity thieves frequently. Mailboxes which are unattended and unlocked can provide a treasure trove of identifying information for thieves. Similarly, outgoing mail should never sit in an unsecured mailbox. If you or a loved elder has an unsecured mailbox, it is worth considering renting a Post Office box, and sending all mail out from the post office.

3. Request To Pick Up New Checks At The Bank
New sets of checks are easily identifiable, and thieves would love to get their hands on them. If you do not have a secured mailed box or post office box, check with your bank about picking up your checks directly from the bank, rather than leaving them to chance in your mailbox.

In California, financial elder abuse is defined in Welfare and Institutions Code §15610.30. The code states: "Financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult occurs when a person or entity... takes, secrets, appropriates, obtains, or retains [or assists in doing any of these] real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult for a wrongful purpose or with intent to defraud or both."

Far too many elders in California become the victims of financial abuse each year. In order to prevent your loved elder from facing a headache of credit and legal problems, do your best to ensure that all of their identifying paperwork is secure in the mail, and that all documents with sensitive information are promptly shredded.

If you suspect, or confirm, that your loved elder is the victim of financial abuse in California there are certain steps you can take. You may report any suspicion of abuse to the National Elder Abuse Hotline at 1-800-677-1116. In California, reports can also be made to the local county Adult Protective Services Agency or to local law enforcement.

Continue reading "Preventing Financial Elder Abuse: Tips For Securing Sensitive Information" »

Studies Show Female Elders More Likely To Be Abused

December 2, 2014

Nearly 70% of elder abuse victims are women, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. It is worth noting that the population of elder women is much larger than the population of elderly men in the United States, however, that does not make these alarming statistics any less disturbing.
Why are women the victims of elder abuse more often than men? There are a few reasons most experts tend to agree upon.

Elder-Abuse-Victim-.jpg1. Elderly females may be seen as easier targets for physical, financial, emotional, or even sexual abuse.
2. Women tend to live longer than men, and many live alone putting them in a position where they may be more likely to be abused.
3. Women tend to develop crippling physical diseases such as osteoporosis, which may take a long time to recover from.

Statistics conclusively show that elders who are disabled are far more likely to be abused than those who are not. As a matter of fact, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse, Administration on Aging:

"Institutionalized adult women with disabilities reported a 33% prevalence of having ever experienced interpersonal violence (IPV) versus 21% for institutionalized adult women without disabilities...when considering lifetime abuse by any perpetrator, a sample of 200 adult women with disabilities indicated that 67% had experienced physical abuse and 53% had experienced sexual abuse."

Elderly women are far more likely to be sexually abused than men. Reports in the Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect found that elderly women were six times more likely to be sexually abused than elderly men. Sexual abuse of elderly women occurs most often in nursing homes, or other assisted living facilities.

If you suspect that an elder --whether male or female--is being abused, it is vital to report your concerns immediately. Under California law elder abuse can be both a criminal and civil offense. The state of California has taken a firm stance and zero tolerance policy towards elder abuse in any capacity. As part of their mission to encourage all Californians to report suspected elder abuse, the state has created The Citizen's Guide To Preventing and Reporting Elder Abuse, which can be viewed in its entirety here.

If you believe an elder you know is being abused in any capacity while residing in a California nursing home, report it to the following agencies immediately:

• Local Law Enforcement, including the Police, Sheriff, and District Attorney's office. The San Diego County Sheriff's department can be reached at (858) 565-5200. The San Diego County District Attorney may be reached at 619-531-4040.
• Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program provide a 24/7 Crisis Complaint Hotline at 800-231-4024.
• Adult Protective Services (APS). In San Diego County, you may contact: San Diego County Aging and Independent Services (858) 495-5660.

Continue reading "Studies Show Female Elders More Likely To Be Abused" »

When a Loved Elder Has Died: Proving Elder Abuse in Southern California

November 18, 2014

In California, the family of an elder who has passed away due to nursing home neglect or abuse has the right to file a lawsuit against the perpetrators seeking damages for the pain and suffering the elder was subjected to, and the wrongful death caused by the neglect.

To prove that an elder died in a California nursing home due to neglect, experienced California elder abuse attorneys will help you complete a thorough investigation to determine whether the evidence supports the necessary elements to prove the defendant failures caused the death. The following include some of the criteria that will be analyzed:gavel and money.jpeg

1. Supplying the necessaries of nutrition, hydration, hygiene or medical care for an elder or dependent adult;
2. Being aware of conditions that made the elder unable to supply him/herself with those necessities;
3. Denying or withholding the goods and services required to supply those necessities; and
4. Either knowing or being substantially certain the deprivation would cause injury or with a conscious disregard of the probability that the deprivation would cause injury.

Lastly, the plaintiff has to prove as a result of the failures/deprivation, the elder or dependent adult suffered either physical pain or mental anguish. Under the Elder Abuse Act, if a California plaintiff can prove the abuse/neglect was done with "recklessness, oppression, fraud, or malice," the plaintiff may be entitled to additional remedies. However, the plaintiff has to meet its burden of proof by "clear and convincing evidence" which is the highest standard of proof in the civil context.

Continue reading "When a Loved Elder Has Died: Proving Elder Abuse in Southern California " »

Why Are Elders So Susceptible To Bed Sores?

November 7, 2014

Southern California elders - particularly those residing in nursing homes, or skilled nursing facilities - are unfortunately prone to developing life-threatening bedsores. Bedsores, which are also known as pressure ulcers, can lead to a host of health problems, particularly in elders whose health may already be compromised. Similarly, because many elders may be confined to a bed or wheelchair, their risk for developing these sores is increased.

According to the Mayo Clinic:elderlyWomanInBed.jpg
People are at risk of developing pressure sores if they have difficulty moving and are unable to easily change position while seated or in bed. Immobility may be due to:

• Generally poor health or weakness
• Paralysis
• Injury or illness that requires bed rest or wheelchair use
• Recovery after surgery
• Sedation
• Coma

However, more specific risk factors affecting elders which make them so susceptible to bedsores may include advanced age, which results in thinner, drier, less elastic skin, which is generally more fragile. Elders may also develop bedsores after significant weight loss, which can accompany a long-term illness. Poor nutrition and/or dehydration also make elders susceptible to developing dangerous bedsores. Illnesses such as diabetes, and vascular diseases may also lead to damaged skin tissue, making it easier for a bedsore to develop. Likewise, elders who suffer from bowel or bladder incontinence are also likely to develop bedsores if soiled clothing isn't removed and replaced immediately.

Similarly, elders who are in a state of mental decline are typically more likely to develop dangerous bedsores. Those who have limited mental alertness may be unaware that sores are developing, leading them to progress into dangerous infections before being discovered. By the same token, any elder who has diminished sensory perception, such as those who are paralyzed, may also not discover bedsores until they have reached a dangerous stage.

The key to prevention (and treatment) of bedsores is to relieve pressure. This can be accomplished most effectively by repositioning an elder regularly, particularly once a bedsore has developed.

For elders residing in a Southern California nursing home, inspection of the skin should be a routine part of care. Unfortunately, all too often patients suffer from bedsores due to neglect or lack of an appropriate care plan implemented in the California nursing home. If you have found a bedsore on an elder you know, a doctor needs to be notified immediately. Bedsores can often be resolved with appropriate detection and treatment.

While many long-term care facilities in California provide excellent care, others subject their patients to many forms of neglect or elder abuse. The California Welfare & Institutions Code §15610.57, addresses "neglect" in part by stating it is "the negligent failure to exercise the degree of care a reasonable person would have exercised had they had the care and custody of an elderly person." This would include the failure to protect that elder from dehydration, bedsores, falls, other injuries caused by safety or health hazards and any type of injury that does not fit the explanation provided by the staff.

Continue reading "Why Are Elders So Susceptible To Bed Sores?" »

Health Changes in Elders Residing in California Nursing Homes

October 31, 2014

By law, the staff members employed by California nursing homes are required to report health changes observed in the elders residing in their facilities. Unfortunately, all too often these changes are unreported. The change in condition of a resident may not be reported for a variety of reasons, including fear that the nursing home be may fined for understaffing, or neglecting California elders residing within the facility. In other cases, a resident who has experienced a rapid deterioration in condition, may indicate that isolation, neglect, or even abuse is occurring within a facility.

Failure to report changes in condition to an elder's doctor and family members is a violation of the law.
old woman.jpg Changes in an elder's condition which must be reported may include, but is not limited to:
• Cracked lips, or sores in and around the mouth
• Noticeably dry skin
• Eyes which appear sunken in
• Disorientation/Confusion
• Fever and/or thirst
• Rapid weight loss
• Bed sores
• Broken bones

Elders residing within California nursing homes are granted certain rights. If they are violated, resulting in a change of condition, a crime may have been committed. It is important that all staff working in nursing homes in California report these changes in the condition of elderly residents in order to prevent serious health problems, injury, or even death to residents.

If you notice changes in the condition of your loved one while residing in a nursing home in California, report your concerns immediately. In Southern California and San Diego, you may consider reporting your suspicions to:

• Your loved one's doctor.
• Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. They provide a 24/7 Crisis Complaint Hotline at 800-231-4024.
• Adult Protective Services (APS). In San Diego County, you may contact: San Diego County Aging and Independent Services (858) 495-5660, or the Eldercare Locator help line at 1-800-677-1116.
• Your Department of Public Health Licensing Office.
• Local Law Enforcement, including the Police, Sheriff, and District Attorney's office. The San Diego County Sheriff's department can be reached at (858) 565-5200. The San Diego County District Attorney may be reached at 619-531-4040.

All elders in California nursing homes have the right to quality care and attention, regardless of their age or health. If those rights are denied, abuse must be reported. For tips on reporting suspected neglect and/or abuse in a California nursing home, the Justice Department has a helpful citizen's guide that can be found at the following website: http://ag.ca.gov/bmfea/pdfs/citizens_guide.pdf

Continue reading "Health Changes in Elders Residing in California Nursing Homes" »

Elder Isolation: An Overview

October 13, 2014

Isolation is a form of Elder Abuse in California, per California Penal Code §15610.43. Elder abuse is a violation of the rights of elders by those charged with caring for them in facilities, such as California nursing homes. California nursing homes are required to provide reasonable care, and any intent to do otherwise constitutes a criminal action.
locked door 2.jpg

Elder Isolation may include:

*Any intentional actions, which prevent an elder resident from making or receiving phone calls, or having contact with family and friends outside of their residential, nursing facility.
*Any intentional actions which prevent the elder resident from speaking with their physicians, their attorneys, law enforcement or even members of their religious organization.
*Actions such as placing an elder in a locked room, or restraining them in another capacity without their consent.
*Confinement of an elder (which can also be deemed false imprisonment).

Elders are often isolated by nursing home staff as a way of dominating and/or instilling fear in the elder resident. The consequences that the elder may experience as the result can be traumatic. Elders who have been isolated often experience depression, anxiety, stress, and fear. In the worst cases, the lasting effects of isolation may result in suicide or death.
If you suspect that a loved elder may be experiencing intentional acts of isolation while in a his or her nursing home, speak up. Often elders who are being victimized in any way feel helpless to do anything about the abuse, for fear of repercussions.

If you suspect an elder you know is being abused in any capacity while residing in a California nursing home, report it to the following agencies immediately:
• Local Law Enforcement, including the Police, Sheriff, and District Attorney's office. The San Diego County Sheriff's department can be reached at (858) 565-5200. The San Diego County District Attorney may be reached at 619-531-4040
• Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. They provide a 24/7 Crisis Complaint Hotline at 800-231-4024
• Adult Protective Services (APS). In San Diego County, you may contact: San Diego County Aging and Independent Services (858) 495-5660.

Continue reading "Elder Isolation: An Overview" »

Learning To Spot Warning Signs of Financial Abuse of Elders

September 3, 2014

In California, financial elder abuse is defined in Welfare and Institutions Code Section 15610.30. The code states: "Financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult occurs when a person or entity... takes, secrets, appropriates, obtains, or retains [or assists in doing any of these] real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult for a wrongful purpose or with intent to defraud or both."

Although financial abuse is far too prevalent, the best defense against opportunists who would seek to defraud elders out of their money, property or belongings, is preventing the abuse in the first place. Although there is no surefire way to ensure that your loved one's finances are protected at all times, there are warning signs to look for, which can indicate that financial abuse is taking place.

In an effort to best protect a loved elder from financial abuse including a loss of their property, assets or money, be on the lookout for these warning signs that a caregiver, a family member or even a staff member at a California nursing home is victimizing elders:

*Missing items (jewelry, appliances)
*Unpaid or past due bills
*Excessive credit card charges
*Unusual bank activity (large withdrawals or checks)
*New credit cards opened in the elder's name
*Changes to trusts, estates, wills
*Unusual investments in ventures, real estate, businesses
*Bulk sales of stocks
*Unusual charitable contributions or gifts to unknown people/organizations
*Large purchases (property, cars, electronics)

One of the best means of ascertaining that a loved one and their finances are safe is through frequent contact with the elder. Simply by calling and/or visiting them you can often pick up on cues as to their overall wellbeing. Volunteering to help them once or twice a month with their finances, including paying bills will also give you a good picture of their financial health at all times. Furthermore, take advantage of the opportunity to help your loved elder obtain their free annual credit report, and review it with them to make sure that all records are correct. Paying attention to the relationships your loved elder has with others will also help to illuminate any potential opportunists in their lives.

If you suspect, or confirm that your loved elder is the victim of financial abuse in California there are certain steps you should take. In California, reports can be made to the local county Adult Protective Services Agency or to local law enforcement.


Continue reading "Learning To Spot Warning Signs of Financial Abuse of Elders " »

Be Aware: Fake IRS Phone Scam Still Targeting Elders

July 28, 2014

Opportunists continue to seek occasions to defraud elders out of money, and one of the many ways they continue to try to do it is through phone scams. In fact, according to the National Consumers League nearly 1/3 of phone fraud victims are over the age of 60. In recent months one of the newest scams involves a caller claiming to be from the IRS.

The scam works like this:

A caller impersonating an IRS employee will call and notify the resident that they owe a substantial amount of money in back taxes. They often then threaten the victim with an arrest warrant, or seizure of property if they do not pay the taxes immediately, via a pre-paid debit card, bringing a check to a particular location, wiring the money, or paying through PayPal. They often state from the start that the "debt" cannot be paid with a credit card.

This scam is not new, but it has defrauded victims out of more than $1,000,000 to date. The IRS and the Federal Trade Commission are both aware of the scam, and want you to keep the following in mind, if you get a call from anyone claiming to be from the IRS:

*The IRS will almost always contact you by mail, not by phone.
*The IRS will never threaten you with seizing your property or issuing an arrest warrant.
*The IRS will never demand immediate payment over the phone, nor will they insist that you pay using some specific, or peculiar method.

If a caller claiming to be from the IRS has scammed you, you should file a complaint with the Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration (800-366-4484) and with the Federal Trade Commission at www.FTC.gov. Include the words "IRS Telephone Scam" in your complaint.

There are plenty of people who make a living at the expense of others, and you definitely don't want to become a victim. If you would prefer to be removed from all phone sales lists, you can request to be put on the "Do Not Call" list, by registering at www.donotcall.gov.

Continue reading "Be Aware: Fake IRS Phone Scam Still Targeting Elders" »

Understaffing in California Nursing Homes Continues To Prove Dangerous

July 13, 2014

Understaffing nursing homes is incredibly dangerous to adults over 65 residing in long-term care facilities such as Southern California nursing homes. That's precisely why specific laws and regulations are in place which mandate proper staffing at long-term care facilities.

Under California law, "The facility shall employ an adequate number of qualified personnel to carry out all of the functions of the facility" Health & Safety Code § 1599.1(a). Moreover, Health & Safety Code §1276.5-1276.65 mandates that nursing homes must provide a minimum of 3.2 nursing hours per patient per day.

Unfortunately, many facilities choose to ignore the California law. Even worse, the understaffing of nursing homes has been directly correlated to abuse and neglect of elders. Indeed, understaffing in California nursing homes leads to substandard care over and over again. Substandard care in nursing homes then leads to illness, injury, and too often, death.

Reports estimate that more than 90% of nursing homes in America are not adequately staffed to accomplish all caretaking tasks required by their elderly patients. In many instances, nursing homes in Southern California are so dangerously understaffed that nurses are unable to complete daily tasks such as delivering meals to their elderly residents' bedsides.

Legislation in California has been enacted to force an increase in staffing in California nursing homes. In 2004, for example, the Medi-Cal Long Term Care Reimbursement Act (AB 1629) was enacted to ensure high quality of care in nursing homes by increasing staffing and promoting compliance with State and Federal regulations.
However, studies appeared within just years of the enactment, which proved that the new reimbursement rate system did not result in significant improvement in quality. Although average staffing levels improved slightly, they remained far below the threshold of minimum staffing levels suggested by experts. Moreover, 16% of state nursing homes failed to meet the minimum staffing levels required by state law.

Six years after the law was enacted, in April 2010, other agencies published results of their independent investigations into the effects of the Act. Their findings were disappointing to say the least. Despite an influx of nearly $900 million in additional funding afforded to California nursing homes, more than 230 California nursing homes cut staff, paid lower wages, and/or allowed staffing levels to slip below the legally mandated minimum.
Understaffing in nursing homes has been linked to:

• Increase in use of physical and chemical restraints
• Increase in falls
• Overmedication
• Misuse of medication
• Malnutrition & dehydration
• Falls
• Bedsores and related infections
• Death

State and Federal law requires nursing homes to be properly staffed in order to protect the rights of all residents living in a nursing home or other long-term care facility. If an elder you know is being neglected, or abused while in the care of a facility charged with caring for them, report your suspicions to Adult Protective Services, an Ombudsman and/or an elder abuse attorney immediately.

Christopher C. Walton is a peer-recognized, California elder abuse attorney whose practice is dedicated to issues involving elder abuse & neglect. If you believe somebody you know has been a victim of elder abuse, please call (619) 233-0011 for a free and confidential consultation.

Food Quality and Nursing Homes In California: What To Know

June 20, 2014

Residents of California nursing homes have the right to quality food while residing in any type of long term care facility. When a nursing home fails to provide quality food and beverages, elderly residents run the risk of becoming malnourished or dehydrated, which can lead to a whole host of medical complications. However, making sure that elderly residents receive enough food and water/beverages is the bare minimum that a nursing home must provide for its residents.

In addition to providing enough to eat and drink, here is a partial list of reasonable expectations (AKA Care Standards) that are granted residents of California nursing homes:

*Three meals a day at regular times with no more than 14 hours passing between meals.
*Evening/bedtime snack.
*Meals that are served at the proper temperatures.
*Meals that meet national dietary standards.
*Meals prepared using ingredients that have been stored, prepared, distributed and served in sanitary conditions.

California nursing homes must also provide help with making sure tables are available at the right height for patients, for offering optional utensils if necessary, and more. Proper nutrition and fluid intake is vital to the wellbeing of elders residing in nursing homes. Nursing homes that fail to provide quality food and beverages may be engaging in abusive practices.

If you or someone you know is receiving substandard care when it comes to food and beverage quality, or if you feel they are suffering from malnutrition or dehydration while residing in California nursing home, you should contact their doctor immediately. You can also consider contacting a local ombudsman and/or the California Department of Public Health to lodge a complaint.

Another Celebrity Elder Abuse Case Is Pending

June 13, 2014

Just months after the Mickey Rooney's case against his stepson settled for $2.8 Million, another celebrity is the subject of a massive elder abuse investigation. This time, the alleged celebrity victim is legendary radio personality, Casey Kasem.

According to NBCNews.com:
"Three weeks after Casey Kasem's wife removed him from a Los Angeles hospital and took him on a road trip to Washington to stay at a friend's house, the radio icon's health is deteriorating, according to his daughter's testimony during a court hearing on Friday.
Even though a Los Angeles judge has granted Kasem's eldest daughter, Kerri, a temporary conservatorship over his health care, his wife, Jean, has not allowed her to see her father, Kerri Kasem said in court.

Kerri Kasem said she is increasingly worried about her father's condition, after the Seattle physician hired by Jean Kasem told her that he now has bed sores, a lung infection, and a urinary tract infection -- ailments he did not have when he was at Berkeley East Convalescent Hospital in Santa Monica, she said."

If the allegations are true, this is terrible news for Kasem. Bed sores can result in life threatening infections for elders. To complicate matters it is widely reported that Kasem is suffering from Lewy body disease, which is a form of progressive dementia. The story surrounding this American icon only gets worse.

There is no excuse for elder abuse, nor any shame in being a victim of elder abuse. It can happen to anyone. However, if you suspect an elder you know has been abused, report the incident immediately. To report elder abuse in San Diego, contact: San Diego County Aging and Independent Services 9335 Hazard Way, Suite 100 San Diego, CA 92123 (858) 495-5660 (800) 510-2020 (local) (800) 339-4661.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: June 15

June 6, 2014

Celebrating 8 years this year, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is just around the corner. The International Network first acknowledged this important date on June 15, 2006 for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse website, "The purpose of WEAAD is to provide an opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect."

On June 15, 2014 the Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living encourages everyone to take action. Even just one action on your behalf to engage seniors, empower communities, and involve young people in the efforts can make a big difference.

Here are a few tips suggested by the ACL:

Engage Seniors

• Make a commitment to volunteer this year! Get some ideas about where you can help older adults.
• Print out the Scam Checklist and hand out to older adults in your community! Encourage them to keep it by their phone to remind them of what to look out for!

Empower Communities

• Ask your church or organization to add informational blurbs about elder abuse to their newsletters! Get some ideas for faith communities or read our Faith Community Guide.
• Share with your friends and family via social media about WEAAD and spread awareness! Find sample Facebook posts and Tweets as well as Facebook graphics to use.
• Create an event in your area! Get ideas about where to start here, but also find flyers, PSAs, and other resources in our World Day Tool Kit!

Speak Out!

• Send a press release

Involve Youth

• Ask your teacher to commemorate World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15 by educating students on the signs of elder abuse!
• Have your sorority or fraternity do a service project to help elders. Visit a nursing home or senior center and pass out education materials from the World Day Tool Kit. Visit isolated seniors in your neighborhoods.
• Encourage your teen to start a campaign to promote dignity and support for older adults.

At Walton Law, APC, we encourage anyone who suspects an elder is being abused while in a nursing home or private residence to report suspicions. You may also wish to consult an experienced elder abuse and neglect attorney.

Continue reading "World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: June 15" »

Feeding Tubes in Southern California Nursing Homes

April 6, 2014

Thousands of elders reside in nursing homes in Southern California. Many of them require a feeding tube temporarily, or even on a permanent basis. Feeding tubes may prove the only source of nutrition for some residents of California nursing homes. It is vital that these feeding tubes be perfectly inserted and maintained in order to ensure proper functionality, and to prevent potentially life threatening conditions including infection and choking.

The staff working inside a California nursing home must be properly trained in the correct procedures required when working with an elder with a feeding tube. It is crucial that bacteria is not allowed to grow in the tube, lest it leads to infection. Likewise, it is imperative that the skin around the insertion site of the feeding tube remain clean and dry at all times. Some elders requiring a feeding tube must have the ice keeping the food fresh replaced regularly, and still others need to be monitored closely to ensure that feeding tubes remain securely positioned in a specific place. All elders in California requiring a feeding tube must have their heads kept above the level of the tube.

When the staff working in California nursing homes neglect to take proper care of residents who require a feeding tube, they not only endanger the elder, but they are also breaking the law.

If you have reason to believe that an elder who requires a feeding tube has been neglected while in the care of a Southern California nursing home, you should consider contacting an ombudsman and/or filing a complaint with the California Department of Public Health. You should also consider receiving a free consolation with a Southern California elder abuse attorney. At Walton Law, APC, nursing home neglect cases are handled on a contingency basis, meaning we do not collect any money from you unless we resolve your claim.


Continue reading "Feeding Tubes in Southern California Nursing Homes" »

Wandering In Nursing Homes: What You Need To Know

March 29, 2014

According to the World Health Organization, dementia is one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people. Dementia, which is a syndrome in which there is a deterioration in memory, behavior and thinking, causes many who suffer from it to lose the ability to perform their regular activities.

Elders are stricken with dementia far more than any other age group. In many cases, dementia is the reason an elder moves into a nursing home. Dementia is also often to blame for what is known as "elopement" or in layman's terms, wandering. Elders with dementia may develop wandering tendencies, wherein due to cognitive impairment, they begin to wander around their nursing home unsupervised and without an escort.

Wandering may lead to serious injury as the result of falling. In some cases wandering has even led to death, in cases where residents have wandered outside of their residential facility. Though rare, wandering is dangerous enough that lawmakers included provisions to protect against it in the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act. The law required that nursing homes must provide residents with adequate supervision in effort to prevent elderly patients from wandering. That means of course, that nursing homes must be properly staffed.

In order to determine whether the California nursing home an elder currently resides in, or a nursing home that an elder may be considering residing in, provides adequate staffing, meet with administrators to ask the following questions:

• How many of the staff members are awake during the night?
• Does the staff employ people who specialize in working with elders with dementia?
• What is the ratio of staff members to residents?
• Are staff members assigned to specific residents, or do all staff members work with all residents?
• What kind of ongoing education and training in dementia does the staff receive?
• How does the staff handle residents who wander?
• Who supervises the staff responsible for caring for elders with dementia? What are their qualifications?

In addition to asking these questions, you'll certainly want to take a tour of the facility, and observe the other residents. Moreover, conduct a bit of research about the facility to check for violations, license suspensions, and complaints. Choosing to place an elder suffering from dementia into a California nursing home or skilled nursing facility is never an easy decision. However, you can safeguard your loved ones better by doing your research, asking a lot of questions and visiting the facility yourself.

If someone you know has been injured by wandering in a Southern California nursing home, report the injury immediately. You should also schedule a free consultation with a nursing home abuse attorney, who can explain your legal rights. Christopher C. Walton is a peer recognized, and legal industry honored San Diego, California based elder abuse attorney whose practice is dedicated to issues involving elder abuse & neglect. If you believe you or somebody you know has been a victim of elder abuse, please call (619) 233-0011 for a free and confidential consultation with an elder abuse attorney.