Important California Laws To Know – Elder Abuse And Neglect
The California legislature recognizes that elders and dependent adults are more subject to abuse, neglect, or abandonment than other adults and that the state has a responsibility to protect these persons.
Abuse of an elder or dependent adult means physical abuse, neglect, abandonment, isolation, abduction, or other treatment with resulting physical harm or pain or mental suffering. It may also consist of the deprivation by a care custodian of goods or services that are necessary to avoid physical harm or mental suffering. And finally, it may include financial abuse as defined by California law.
“Neglect” means either of the following:
(1) The negligent failure of any person having the care or custody of an elder or a dependent adult to exercise that degree of care that a reasonable person in a like or similar position would exercise.
(2) The negligent failure of an elder or dependent adult to exercise that degree of self-care that a reasonable person in a like or similar position would exercise.
(b) Neglect includes, but is not limited to, all of the following:
(1) Failure to assist in personal hygiene, or the provision of food, clothing, or shelter.
(2) Failure to provide medical care for physical and mental health needs. No person will be deemed neglected or abused for the sole reason that he or she voluntarily relies on treatment by spiritual means through prayer alone instead of medical treatment.
(3) Failure to protect from health and safety hazards.
(4) Failure to prevent malnutrition or dehydration.
(5) Failure of an elder or dependent adult to satisfy any of the needs specified above, inclusive, for himself or herself as a result of poor cognitive functioning, mental limitation, substance abuse, or chronic poor health.
In dealing with the issue of the abuse of the elderly, The California Legislature has declared that elders and adults admitted as inpatients to a 24-hour health facility deserve special consideration and protection. Elders are categorized as those adults whose physical or mental disabilities or other limitations restrict their ability to carry out normal activities or to self-protect their rights.
This criminal offense applies to conduct whereby a person knows or reasonably should know that a person is an elder or dependent adult and who, under circumstances or conditions likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully causes or permits any elder or dependent adult to suffer, or inflicts thereon unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or having the care or custody of an elder or dependent adult, willfully causes or permits the person or health of the elder or dependent adult to be injured, or willfully causes or permits the elder or dependent adult to be placed in a situation in which his or her person or health is endangered.
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