According to the Louisiana Department of Health, more than 7,300 cases of abuse involving older and vulnerable adults are reported in the state every year. However, it is believed that this number represents but a fraction of the total cases actually happening here in Louisiana.
Elder abuse is a violation of human rights. Federal recognition first appeared in 1987, in the amendments to the Older Americans Act, which is used as a guideline for individual state laws.
There are several types of abuse covered in these guidelines, including physical, emotional, sexual, exploitation, neglect, and abandonment.
Louisiana Law has its own rules and regulations regarding elder abuse, which protect adults aged 60 or older from acts or omissions resulting in physical or emotional abuse; state laws cover neglect, as well.
Elder Exploitation in the State of Louisiana
Louisianan law also protects older citizens from financial exploitation. Exploitation is the fastest growing type of elder abuse, primarily because it is not often reported.
This type of elder abuse is worth closer inspection, as the Louisiana Revised Statute requires all citizens to report cases of suspected neglect, abuse, or financial exploitation. It is a crime in the state of Louisiana to not report elder abuse.
However, the current statute offers protection, granting criminal and civil immunity to individuals who report these crimes on food faith.
Compared to physical and emotional abuse, elder exploitation is harder to recognize but equally offensive in the eyes of the law. Financial exploitation occurs when someone illegally or improperly uses an older adult’s money or belongings for personal gain.
How to Recognize Elder Abuse
Adults with disabilities are often among the most abused, neglected, and exploited groups in our country. Together, we must take a stance against elder abuse, and protect individuals from these predatory behaviors.
We must all be vigilant in this effort, and look for signs of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. This includes looking for signs of abuse inside both personal residences and professional care facilities, including nursing homes and hospice.
Common signs of elder abuse include bruises or skin discoloration, evidence of bed sores, refused visitor access, withdrawn behaviors, dirty clothing, no utilities, unsanitary living conditions, use of adult’s money or resources, large money withdrawals, and limited access to computers, cell phones, or other communication devices.
Louisiana ranks second to last in the United States for quality of care in nursing homes. This is due to a low number of personal nursing care minutes each day, few facilities, a dwindling staff of qualified nurses, as well as a high number of home facilities with insufficiencies in care programs.
Unfortunately, this has resulted in an alarming number of abuse and neglect cases throughout the state of Louisiana. Don’t let your loved ones suffer at the hands of poorly trained staffers, bad facility conditions, or belligerent negligence.
Louisianan Legal Assistance for Elder Abuse Cases
At the Monroe Law Office of J. Antonio Tramontana, we take elder abuse very seriously. If you suspect any type of abuse, it is your legal obligation to report it. Remember, it is a crime in the state of Louisiana to not report elder abuse.
We are based in Monroe and serve all of northeastern Louisiana. If you have questions about elder abuse or a personal injury claim, we want to hear from you. For a free case review, please fill out the form to the left, or call me directly at 318-340-1515.