(CALIFORNIA) An estimated 2.1 million older Americans are victims every year of elder abuse. In fact, experts believe that only one in six cases of elder abuse is reported. “Elder abuse” can be defined as the intentional or negligent acts by a caregiver or trusted individual that cause harm to a vulnerable elder. It takes many forms, including: Emotional abuse, Physical abuse, Neglect (by the caregiver) or self-neglect, Financial exploitation
The most common risk factors include: Poor physical health, Mental health or substance abuse issues (by the elder or abuser), Social isolation or withdrawal
Whatever the form or cause, elder abuse is wrong and needs to be addressed legally whenever it raises its ugly head. What can be done?
On September 5, 2013, Governor Jerry Brown of California signed Assembly Bill 381, allowing a court to award attorney’s fees and costs to seniors who are victims of those who commit financial elder abuse through using a power of attorney. Prior to this new law, elder victims could be awarded only double the damages suffered; filing the lawsuit cost so much that victims often lost money even if they won their suit. Read more »