Caring for our older relatives is often a challenge. This is especially true when seniors develop more intensive needs, such as a limitation on mobility that means someone cannot easily leave the home. Able family members and home health aides often become necessary figures in an elder person’s life.

Florida laws protect seniors against elder abuse or neglect by caretakers just as the law protects residents of nursing homes against bad behavior by staff. As the Sunshine State’s population of senior citizens is poised to increase, new laws may lead the way for the nation in preventing and punishing elder abuse.

A case in neighboring Georgia has made headlines here and renewed calls to increase protections for senior citizens under home care. An unconscious woman was discovered in a state of decomposition by emergency service workers in her home in Sugar Hill. Her husband and son had apparently been unable or unwilling to prevent her legs from rotting and becoming a breeding area for maggots.

The same crew transported the woman to a local hospital a month earlier. She was discovered on the same surface that the crew had last placed her. The members of the crew “did not believe she would live much longer and felt a moral obligation to report this,” according to fire department officials.

Family members and home health aides may be guilty of elder abuse or neglect if their charges are harmed by poor care or negligence. An attorney can help victims and their families press a civil lawsuit for punitive damages against the people responsible for bad senior care.

Source: USA Today, “Bedridden woman found with rotting legs crawling with maggots,” Catherine Park, March 20, 2018