What is Elder Abuse and Neglect?

Elder abuse typically refers to the knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a custodial care provider, caregiver, or any other person that causes harm to a vulnerable adult. In California, anyone aged 65 and older is protected by the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act. The laws are designed to help prevent neglect and abuse to California seniors. Neglect falls within the definition of elder abuse, and unfortunately may have dire consequences to the victim.

In broadest terms, neglect is a type of elder abuse wherein a caregiver fails to provide the elder with basic needs including water, food, shelter, heat/air-conditioning, personal hygiene products and medical assistance. Failure to adequately move or reposition a bedridden elder, for example constitutes neglect, just as failing to keep elders properly nourished and hydrated constitutes neglect.

Neglect is particularly dangerous for elders, as it can lead to life-threatening consequences. Such consequences of neglect include:

*Bedsores
*Sepsis (infection)
*Dehydration
*Malnutrition

All patients entering into a nursing home have the right to quality care and attention, regardless of their age or health. If those rights are denied, as in the form of neglect; elder 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 here.