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February is National Senior Independence Month. As the population of the United States ages collectively, progressively more people are going to start facing questions with regards to certain aspects of life. This will be true whether we are getting older ourselves or because loved ones are reaching their Golden Years. Things that we often took for granted will no longer be guaranteed. Questions regarding the treatment and quality of life an older loved one is experiencing will arise more regularly.
Nearly every older person wants to live as independently as possible. National Senior Independence Month prompts the release of information from many different groups that work to help promote senior independence. One thing that people can do as individuals in addition to obtaining this information is to learn more about the elder abuse laws that are in place. Doing so could make an enormous difference.
National Senior Independence Month is a time to become more aware of the issues that older people may face. The hope for everyone is that his or her level of living independence can be maximized. For some people, living independently is simply not possible for a variety of different reasons. For others, independent living can be prolonged and enhanced if certain steps are taken and certain strategies are in place.
Unfortunately, not enough people are familiar with these different strategies and steps. Below you’ll find some basic information so that you can perform your own ‘checkup’ on a loved one who may be older if you’re wondering whether or not he or she should continue to live without help.
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, the leading cause of serious injuries for older Americans is falls. Falls are also the leading cause of injury-related deaths for American seniors. According to the CDC, more than 27,000 older Americans lose their lives in falls every year. Therefore, loved ones need to make sure that homes where their older friends and relatives live are safe for independent living. Install handrails in places where they would be helpful. Every home should have proper lighting in every room, as many accidental falls occur in the dark. Eliminate clutter as much as possible, as loose items can cause someone to trip.
According to the National Institutes of Health, or NIH, regular exercise is a good way to minimize the chance that a senior will suffer a fall and the resulting injuries. Specifically, many different programs involve exercises that promote improved balance, strength and core fitness. Each of these is a component that can help someone avoid a fall. If your loved one is not currently exercising, do what you can to help that person get involved in something active. Doing so could help that person avoid what would otherwise have been an extremely harmful and dangerous fall.
Legislatures are enacting more and more elder abuse laws around the country because of this form of abuse and exploitation. Some studies estimate that billions of dollars are taken from seniors in the United States every year because of the different forms of scams that exist. In order to ensure that seniors are able to live as independently as possible, their finances need to be in order and protected. If you have a loved one living on his or her own, talk to that person about making sure that he or she is properly protected in this regard. You should also pass along some information regarding common scams that tend to arise that target seniors in particular.
Finally, elder abuse laws also exist in order to levy penalties on people who engage in other types of abuse. These types of abuse can include:
If you suspect that anyone who is in regular contact with your loved one is engaging in any type of inappropriate conduct, you need to act on these instincts and seek help as soon as possible. The elder abuse lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys have previously provided links for people to use when they need to file reports of elder abuse. You can find that information here. The link also provides information regarding common warning signs of elder abuse.
The California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, or CANHR, published an informational section regarding elder abuse and elder abuse laws. There are different types of elder abuse laws that exist in California. Criminal elder abuse laws that provide for heavy fines and even jail or prison time if someone inflicts harm on an older person in any of the ways described above.
There are also civil laws, which tend to deal with relations between private individuals or entities. The CANHR includes the following acts in its description of civil elder abuse:
Please note that people who violate civil standards can still face criminal prosecution. Those who find themselves in this terrible situation should seek legal advice in order to decide how to proceed as quickly as possible.
The San Diego nursing home abuse lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys hope that everyone makes the most of National Senior Independence Month. Everyone who has reached retirement age deserves to live with dignity and in safe environments. Hopefully those who run through the ‘checkup’ list above will complete it and realize that their loved ones are doing quite well. If so, you should appreciate that fact but also redo the ‘checkup’ regularly.
If you discover or even suspect that an older loved one is being abused or neglected, you need to seek the help of the attorneys who have been fighting for the rights of clients for more than a decade. Contact Gomez Trial Attorneys as soon as possible to schedule a free initial consultation.
John Gomez founded the firm alone in 2005. Today, John acts as President and Lead Trial Attorney. He has been voted by his peers as a top ten San Diego litigator in three separate fields: Personal Injury, Insurance and Corporate Litigation. Since 2000, he has recovered over $800 million in settlements and verdicts for his clients with more than 160 separate recoveries of one million dollars or more. A prolific trial lawyer, John has tried to jury verdict more than 60 separate cases.
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