WHAT TO DO IF YOU SUSPECT YOUR PARENT HAS BEEN NEGLECTED OR ABUSED
California recognizes that adults, age 65 and older, are vulnerable and can be subject to neglect or abuse by those charged with the responsibility to take care of them. This guide will provide an explanation of what constitutes abuse or neglect under California law.
ELDER ABUSE AND DEPENDENT ADULT CIVIL PROTECTION ACTEvery adult, age 65 and older, who is being care for by another is afforded certain protections under the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act. The Act includes many statutes designed to protect elders from abuse or neglect. Violators of these statutes are subject to civil liability and, in some cases, criminal liability.
Neglect under the Act means the negligent failure of any person having the *care or custody of an elder adult* to exercise that degree of care that a reasonable person in a like position would exercise. Neglect includes such things as the failure to provide medical care for physical and mental health needs or the failure to protect an elder from health and safety hazards.
Similar to neglect, abuse under the Act includes such things as physical abuse or deprivation by a care custodian of goods or services that are necessary to avoid physical harm or mental suffering.
WHAT CONSTITUTES NEGLECT OR ABUSEIn handling elder abuse claims, we have seen many different acts or omissions of abuse. Some of the more common acts or omissions that constitute abuse or neglect includes the following:
(1) Failure to assist in personal hygiene, or in the provision of food, clothing, or shelter.
(2) Failure to provide medical care for physical and mental health needs. No person shall be deemed neglected or abused for the sole reason that he or she voluntarily relies on treatment by spiritual means through prayer alone in lieu of medical treatment.
(3) Failure to protect from health and safety hazards.
(4) Failure to prevent malnutrition or dehydration.
(5) Failure of an elder or dependent adult to satisfy the needs specified in paragraphs (1) to (4), inclusive, for himself or herself as a result of poor cognitive functioning, mental limitation, substance abuse, or chronic poor health.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU SUSPECT ELDER ABUSE OR NEGLECTIf you suspect abuse, you should document the abuse, doing such things as:
(1) Taking notes of behavior changes.
(2) Taking photographs of injuries or medical conditions such as skin wounds or ulcers.
(3) Taking statements from witnesses to the condition.
You may contact the facility *ombudsman* (an official appointed to investigate complaints) to report instances of abuse or neglect. The contact information should be provided by the facility.