Basic Legal Rights for California Elders

Last month was Residents’ Rights Month which sought to highlight the rights of individuals living in care facilities across the country. We at Gharibian Law believe it is vital for everyone to know their rights – it is key to knowing when those rights have been violated, and what you can do to protect yourself or a loved one. Below are some of the basic rights California elders are entitled to.

Civil Code §3345b

Civil Code §3345b is the statute that establishes senior citizens as a “protected party.” This means that senior citizens who have been taken advantage of because of their age or vulnerability can receive “significantly elevated damages” as compensation. To learn more about Civil Code §3345b, see this article from Elder Law Advocacy.

California Penal Code 368 PC

California Penal Code 368 defines the physical and emotional abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation of senior citizens as a misdemeanor or felony with punishments of up to four years in prison. If you have been a victim of abuse or neglect, you have the right to seek legal action and compensation for damages. 

Right to Privacy and Confidentiality

Senior citizens often live in group care facilities. These facilities do not have the right to discuss your care or personal health information with anyone not expressly given approval. Additionally, residents have the right to privacy in their general, day-to-day living conditions. Keeping this information private and confidential preserves dignity, confidence, and comfort. And you and your loved ones have a right to all of those. 

The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 

This act ensures elderly citizens are taken care of and provided financial security. It requires that children provide care for their parents, that the government provide care facilities, and that medical care is given to all senior citizens. 

Right to Equity

Senior citizens have the right to fair treatment – whether this is in the job market (ageism) or in a care facility or during the process of applying for government health benefits. You or your loved one cannot be discriminated against based on age. 

Right to Visits

Residents of care facilities have a right to visits from desired family, friends, doctors, and others they choose to have visit. This was one of the bigger issues dealt with during COVID-19, which complicated visiting rules. The Essential Caregivers Act (H.R. 3733) sought to remedy this situation and provide visitors for residents in a safe way.


If you or a loved one have been victims of abuse, notify the proper authorities and call Gharibian Law (866-239-8812) for exceptional legal representation.