Three new laws have recently taken effect in California to help protect seniors from physical abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.
- SB 1140- Attempts to define elder abuse more clearly and provides stiffer penalties. Taking advantage of a person’s weakness of mind, lack of confidence or physical frailty – known as ‘undue influence’ – is now grounds for criminal action. The law requires immediate return of the senior’s property if taken under undue influence.
- SB 1136- Provides punitive penalties to those who con senior into paying for free services such as Medi-Cal or Medicare coverage.
- AB 2100- Require state ombudsmen, those who police nursing homes and assisted living facilities, to report suspected abuse to the District Attorneys Office.
‘I think we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg right now,” said Mike Gargiulo, head of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Elder Abuse Division. “Our business is going to expand exponentially with the aging population.”
According to the U.S. Census, the number of people over 65 is expected to grow from the present figure of 39 million to 62 million by 2025. Currently, the American Psychological Association estimates that 2.1 million seniors suffer from elder abuse, but only a small percentage of the cases get reported to officials. Read more about new laws to protect the elderly here.