A New Year and a New Opportunity to Protect Elders

Happy 2014 from Walton Law, APC. We hope that you enjoyed your holidays, and are excited about the opportunities in store for you and your loved ones in this New Year. As you’re setting personal goals, and making plans for the next 12 months, we wanted to encourage you to remember to keep an eye on the elders in your life.

Sadly, elder abuse did not disappear with the changing of the calendar, so we thought it worthwhile to remind everyone that elder abuse may be a criminal or civil offense. In California, elders are defined as anyone aged 65 and older. Criminal elder abuse applies to instances in which an elder suffers physically or mentally as the result of the actions of another. It also includes instances where the health and wellbeing of an elder are endangered. Civil offenses can also include physical pain or suffering, but also includes neglect, financial abuse, deprivation of medicines and personal items needed for hygiene and health.

This year, if you have family members or friends in a skilled nursing facility, or long term residential nursing home, make sure you take the time to ask them how they are being treated. By putting forth an extra effort to ask elders how they are being treated, we can confirm that our loved ones are being treated with dignity, respect, and that they are being treated lawfully. However, if you suspect any form of abuse, report it immediately to:

• 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, or the Eldercare Locator help line at 1-800-677-1116.

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.

Christopher C. Walton is a California elder abuse attorney whose practice is dedicated to issues involving elder abuse & neglect in Southern California nursing homes. If you believe you or somebody you know has been subjected to any form of abuse in a California nursing home, contact Christopher C. Walton at (866) 338-7079 for a free and confidential consultation. Cases are handled on a contingency basis, which means that you will not owe attorney fees unless there is a monetary recovery made for you.