What Is Elder Abandonment in California?

General, Nursing Home Blog

It’s a terrible thought that 1 in 6 elders around the world have been abused. Elder abuse can take many forms, including physical, verbal, emotional and sexual. But it can also take another form that many people aren’t aware of: abandonment.

Generally, elder abandonment means leaving an elderly person without care, but the actual definition under the law changes based on the state the crime occurs in. Each state has laws that protect elders from this form of abuse, and while these laws vary from state to state, the federal government protects elderly people living in long-term care facilities.

California defines elder abandonment as the purposeful desertion of an elderly person by someone caring for them. That can be anyone who has care or custody of the elderly person, including family members and residential care facilities.

What to Look For

An elderly person who has been abandoned may be confused, appear lost or frightened and is often alone. However, when elderly individuals in residential care facilities are abandoned, it may be that the entire facility of residents are victims of elder abandonment. They may be dehydrated, malnourished or have poor personal hygiene in the absence of having anyone to care for them.

When an Elder Is Abandoned

When an elder is abandoned, they may experience new or worsening health problems and their living conditions may deteriorate. In addition, they may suffer from emotional issues, such as agitation, confusion or depression.

There are many problems that can arise from elder abandonment, but they can be prevented. Adequately staffed nursing homes are better equipped to help your aging loved ones than understaffed ones, where neglect can occur and risk of abandonment rises. Be sure to watch for signs of neglect and abuse when visiting your elderly family member. If your senior is in the care of a family member, check in with them regularly to make sure everything is going okay.

Get the Help You Need

If you think someone has been abandoned by their caregivers, you should contact the state’s department of public health and contact an experienced elder abuse attorney at Garcia & Artigliere who can investigate the problem. Call us at (800) 281-8515 to set up a free consultation.