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Elder Abuse on the Rise

An article in the San Diego Union Tribune recently reported that the rate of elder abuse is growing at an alarming rate as people live longer, baby boomers reach retirement, and the economy is shaky. According to the District Attorney’s office in San Diego, 183 cases of elder abuse were prosecuted in 2006, 208 in 2009, and 2010 saw 238 cases. This may not seem like a lot of cases but experts say that only 1 in 13 elder abuse cases are reported. Other statistics show that one out of 20 will be a victim of elder abuse.

In January here in San Diego, a 93 year old Pearl Harbor Survivor was found in his home, a victim of personal and financial elder abuse. Most elder abuse occurs in the home and most at the hands of family members or “trusted others’ such as caregivers,neighbors, and friends. Other cases involve home improvement scammers, financial planners,home care workers, and even nursing home employees.

Elder abuse can be physical, emotional or financial. In San Diego, the Elder and Dependent Abuse Unit was created in 2000 to identify those individuals who prey on senior and dependent adult citizens. This unit can be contacted at 619-533-3500. Other local resources for elder abuse are the San Diego Aging and Independent Services who can be reached at 800-510-2020, Adult Protective Services at 800-510-2020, US Dept. of Justice Elder Abuse Hotline at 800-640-4661, and for abuse issues at a licensed facility, the Long-Term Ombudsman, 800-640-4661.

The attorneys at the lawfirm of Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation handle elder abuse cases which can be filed in the civil court and in some cases, the probate court. The California Welfare & Institutions Code provides a number of remedies for physical abuse, neglect, financial abuse, abandonment, isolation or other treatment resulting in physical harm. It also provides for a cause of action for financial abuse which if proven to be as a result of recklessness, oppression, fraud, or malice in the commission of the abuse, may result in the imposition of punitive damages and attorneys fees. Contact us if we can be of assistance.

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