When it comes to certain social issues, California is a leader in the nation. The state has implemented new laws and reformed policies well ahead of other states and the federal government. For example, California has more robust employee protections than many states and has also undertaken efforts to make the criminal justice system more equitable.
Despite widespread and ongoing legal reform efforts, there are some areas in which California lags behind the rest of the country. In a recent analysis of the protections for older adults, particularly those in nursing homes, California came in at a surprisingly low rank on the list.
How well does California protect older adults?
California has the least protections or vulnerable elders in the country. There are many factors that researchers can consider when determining what states are safest and riskiest for vulnerable older adults. The number of incidents reported at nursing homes, the rate of prosecution for elder abuse and even the number of statutes that exist for the protection of older adults are all important considerations.
Unfortunately, California did not perform well in a recent analysis. In a recent study comparing elder law protections in all 50 states and the District of Columbia (Washington DC), California took the lowest ranking on the list. A lack of specific statutes intended to protect older adults and criminalize common forms of elder abuse are among the most glaring omissions in California that led to its incredibly low rank on the list.
California also does not commit as many state funds toward the prevention and prosecution of elder abuse offenses when compared with the rest of the nation. Older adults may have a harder time protecting themselves, and the families of older adults may face more of an uphill battle when they want to hold professionals accountable for abuse or negligence. That means that, for many families, taking legal action is one of the only ways to push for significant changes in the current California system.
Pursuing a lawsuit related to nursing home abuse or negligence can draw attention to inappropriate or unsafe business practices and potentially force businesses and state lawmakers alike to take action to protect vulnerable older adults.