Are You Concerned About the Care of an Elderly Loved One?

As baby boomers enter retirement, problems are appearing in the care provided to senior citizens in California nursing facilities. If you have an elderly loved one in nursing care, understanding elder abuse is important.

In 2008, Auburn resident Joan Boice moved into the memory unit at Emerald Hills, an assisted living facility run by Emeritus. Ms. Boice died several months after moving out of Emerald Hills. Pressure sores Ms. Boice developed during her stay at Emerald Hills were identified as a factor in her death.

In a wrongful death and elder abuse action brought by her survivors, a jury found Emeritus guilty and awarded the relatives of Ms. Boice $23 million. In June, a Sacramento Superior Court judge upheld the verdict and added $4.3 million in costs and fees to the verdict to be paid by Emeritus. In making the ruling, the court held that Emeritus behaved with a high degree of reprehensibility in caring for Ms. Boice.

The Public Broadcasting System (PBS) included the deteriorating oversight of assisted living facilities in California in its report “Life and Death in Assisted Living.” Seniors living in abusive situations are often unwilling or unable to complain, sometimes for fear of retaliation. To protect your loved one, watch for these signs of abuse:

  • Poor hygiene, lack of grooming or skin conditions like pressure sores
  • Emotional withdrawal inconsistent with personality or diagnosis
  • Unexplained injury, bruises or welts
  • An inability to speak with your loved one without the presence of a facility employee

If someone you care for suffers an injury or wrongful death in a nursing home or assisted living facility in northern California, speak with a skilled injury attorney in San Jose for advice.

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