What is Elder Neglect Under California Law?

Elder abuse affects one of the most vulnerable populations: older adults. A person may even abuse an elder because of the victim’s vulnerability, defenselessness, or financial gain. Thankfully, California legislators don’t tolerate elder abuse or neglect, and the state has strict laws in place prohibiting abuse among nursing homes, caregivers, and family members.

Californian civil law defines elder abuse as physical abuse, neglect, financial abuse, abandonment, isolation, abduction, or other mistreatment resulting in harm, pain, or mental suffering to an elder. It also means the deprivation by a care custodian of goods or services necessary to avoid physical injury or mental anguish.

A person can be criminally charged with elder abuse when he or she knows that the victim is an elder, causes or permits that elder to suffer, or inflicts unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering. It also can cover situations where a person willfully causes or permits an elder to be placed in a situation in which their health is endangered.

California Welfare and Institutions Code Section 15600 protects elders (+65 year of age) and dependent adults from many types of abuse and neglect. But specifically, under the California law, “Neglect” means either of the following:

The negligent failure of any person who has the custody care of an elder or a dependent adult to exercise that degree of care.

Neglect includes, but is not limited to:

  • Inadequate to none assistance in personal hygiene service or the provision of food, clothing, or shelter.
  • Failure to provide medical care for physical and mental health needs. (Note: No person shall 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).
  • Failure to protect from health and safety hazards.
  • Failure to prevent malnutrition or dehydration.
  • Failure of an elder or dependent adult to satisfy the needs specified above for themselves due to low cognitive functioning, mental limitation, substance abuse, or chronic poor health.

If you suspect elder abuse and neglect, don’t hesitate to take action. We invite you at our Elder Abuse Attorney in Los Angeles. You can contact us at 888-288-0091 or through our website. You need all the help you can to get financial compensation and make the guilty party legally responsible for their crimes.