It’s an unthinkable crime, but it is happening every day across California. Family members and caregivers are abusing the elderly physically, mentally and financially.
Laws already on the books mandated caregivers report suspected elder abuse, but a new law changed who they report it to and how quickly they do it.
Those in California required to report suspected elder abuse now need to call law enforcement officials in additions to the ombudsmen’s office, which are patient advocates.
“I expect it will have quite a positive result that law enforcement will be able to get involved in cases readily where they need to be involved,” said Roberto D'Amico with Shasta Adult Protective Services. He explains prior to 2013, pertinent details of abuse could take a while to trickle down to police.
“So that gets around that difficulty and it will make that information immediately available to law enforcement so they can pursue it in an appropriate time frame,” said D’Amico.
“It’s sad when you see abuse happen because you know these patients have had great lives,” said Andy Tenney who operates Oak River Rehab in Anderson, one of the facilities affected by the change.
“So I think it is a good thing. it does not affect us that much because we have been reporting to all the agencies as it was up front,” said Tenney, noting his facility pays close attention to its patients and immediately reports any problems.
“Whether it's financial, emotional, physical or many others, my heart goes out to that and that is why we try to help as much as we can,” said Tenney.
The law is needed locally; Shasta County's rate of elder abuse is higher than the state average. But much of it goes unreported because it happens at home, beyond a watchful eye.
“Anybody can... And really should call us and let us know,” said D’Amico.
If you suspect elder abuse at home or in a licensed care facility, call adult protective services to report it.