It is the duty of nursing homes and assisted living centers is to provide quality care for our senior citizens. Mission Viejo’s nursing homes are expected to provide proper medical care, nutrition, quality of life and dignity for seniors during their golden years. Unfortunately, there are thousands of elderly residents who are abused or neglected every year in these facilities that are supposed to care for them. It is natural to assume that Southern Orange County, which is by and large affluent, would be home to some of the best senior care facilities in the country. Unfortunately, neglect and abuse of our seniors could happen anywhere and at any time. If this happens, consulting a Mission Viejo nursing home lawyer should be of the utmost priority. They can help serve as your advocate when you decide to go after the nursing home for abuse violations.
Elder Abuse National Statistics
The following statistics were listed in an April 6, 2005 report by the National Center on Elder Abuse:
- Every year, anywhere between one and two million Americans aged 65 or older are exploited, injured or otherwise mistreated by someone whom “they depended for care or protection.”
- The frequency of elder abuse ranges somewhere between 2 and 10 percent.
- Approximately only one in 14 incidents of elder abuse in domestic settings are reported.
- It is estimated that only one in five cases of elder abuse, neglect, self-neglect or exploitation are ever reported.
Orange County and California Elder Abuse Data
According to data reported by Elder Assistance Daily:
- Just five of the 58 California counties (Orange, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside and Santa Clara) account for more than half of all reported elder abuse cases in California
- In 2008, California had an elderly population (individuals over 60) of 5,728,021.
- During that year there were 632,693 cases of elder abuse.
- Los Angeles County had approximately 25 percent of all elder abuse cases in California that year with 162,917.
- Orange County had the second most cases of elder abuse with over 53,000 cases resulting in 8.4 percent of all elder abuse cases in California.
Elder Abuse Cases are Often Underreported
The sad reality is that there are substantially more incidents of abuse than will ever be reported. It is common for victims to shy away from reporting incidents out of humiliation or depression. In such cases, it is rare for them to ever complain about their suffering to their loved one. They feel vulnerable or helpless and unwilling to admit their struggles. Even attentive and loving family members that visit regularly are often unable to notice any telltale signs of abuse or neglect. Even so, there are a number of red flags that family members should be on the look out for.
Signs of Abuse and Neglect
There are a number of potential warning signs that family members can look for when they visit their loved ones. If your loved one is unkempt, malnourished or dehydrated, it may be a sign of neglect. Are your loved one’s clothes washed? Is your loved one receiving proper nutrients during the day or does he or she seem frail, malnourished and dehydrated? Do you worry that chemicals are being used to restrain your loved one? Neglect is a serious problem in many nursing homes and it can put the victim in substantial risk of suffering an illness or injury.
There are many signs of abuse that must be taken seriously. It is common for elderly patients to suffer minor bruises from time to time but his or her family should be notified of falling incidents. Therefore, if there are unexplained injuries that have not been reported and do not appear on the medical reports, then, there may be an issue. Sudden changes in personality may be signs of abuse as well.
If you worry that your loved one is being abused, neglected or mistreated, the experienced Mission Viejo nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Bisnar | Chase Personal Injury Attorneys, LLP will be able to help you better understand your legal rights and options. We have helped nursing home abuse victims and their families hold negligent nursing homes accountable for their actions. Please call us at 949-203-3814 or contact us today for a free and comprehensive consultation.