ELDER ABUSE I FRAUD I ELDERLY NEGLECT I SENIOR ABUSE – Elder Abuse Definition. What is Elder Abuse?

ELDER ABUSE I FRAUD I ELDERLY NEGLECT I SENIOR ABUSE – Elder Abuse Definition. What is Elder Abuse?

By: Diana Adjadj, Esq.

January 29, 2021

Elder Abuse is defined as an intentional act or failure to act that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult. Most often elder abuse occurs at the hands of a care giver or care custodian.

Elder Abuse Definition

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] defines Elder Abuse as “an intentional act or failure to act that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult. An older adult is someone age 60 or older. The abuse often occurs at the hands of a caregiver or a person the elder trusts.”- CDC Preventing Elder Abuse

Caregivers and Care Custodians

When reviewing the CDC’s definition of elder abuse, it begs the question who are “caregivers”.  Caregivers are discussed in several elder abuse laws; however, it is best defined in the Welfare and Institutions Code § 15610.17.  The relevant elder abuse law equates “caregivers” to “care custodians” and defines them as follows:

Caregiver Defined

’Care custodian’ means an administrator or an employee of any of the following public or private facilities or agencies, or persons providing care or services for elders or dependent adults, including members of the support staff and maintenance staff:

(a) Twenty-four-hour health facilities

(b) Clinics

(c) Home health agencies

(d) Agencies providing publicly funded in-home supportive services, nutrition services, or other home and community-based support services

(e) Adult day health care centers and adult day care

(f) Secondary schools that serve 18- to 22-year-old dependent adults and postsecondary educational institutions that serve dependent adults or elders

(g) Independent living centers

(h) Camps

(i) Alzheimer’s Disease day care resource centers

(j) Community care facilities and residential care facilities for the elderly

(k) Respite care facilities

(l) Foster homes

(m) Vocational rehabilitation facilities and work activity centers

(n) Designated area agencies on aging

(o) Regional centers for persons with developmental disabilities

(p) State Department of Social Services and State Department of Health Services licensing divisions

(q) County welfare departments

(r) Offices of patients’ rights advocates and clients’ rights advocates, including attorneys

(s) The office of the long-term care ombudsman

(t) Offices of public conservators, public guardians, and court investigators

(u) Any protection or advocacy agency or entity that is designated by the Governor to fulfill the requirements and assurances of the following: (1) The federal Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000, for protection and advocacy of the rights of persons with developmental disabilities. (2) The Protection and Advocacy for the Mentally Ill Individuals Act of 1986, for the protection and advocacy of the rights of persons with mental illness.

(v) Humane societies and animal control agencies

(w) Fire departments

(x) Offices of environmental health and building code enforcement

(y) Any other protective, public, sectarian, mental health, or private assistance or advocacy agency or person providing health services or social services to elders or dependent adults.” – Welfare and Institutions Code § 15610.17

Elder abuse is fairly common in the United States.  When investigating elder abuse incidents, government agencies include incidents of elderly neglect and elderly exploitation.  Based on available information it is estimated that elder abuse is experienced by 1 out of 10 people aged 60 and older. This number is an underestimate because it is limited to those elder adults whom were treated in emergency room facilities, not taking into account the elder abuse that occurs in nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, hospice centers, senior homes and outside medical clinics treating senior patients. Further this estimate fails to consider fraud schemes and fraudulent misrepresentations targeting seniors.

Contact Us if you have questions about Elder Abuse and Senior Neglect:

If you suspect that an elderly friend or family member was or is subject to elder abuse or senior neglect, you must contact an elder abuse attorney.  Elder neglect cases are complex requiring immediate attention, please call our offices today to discuss your matter with an elder abuse lawyer at 619-432-5145.

    For further discussions on Neglect Cases and Elder Abuse in other settings please see the links below:

    For further discussions on Elder Abuse and Senior Neglect please see the links below:

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