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Can nanny cams help you prove elder abuse in California?

On Behalf of | Jan 10, 2023 | Estate Administration

When you have an older loved one in your family who is physically weak or struggling with cognitive decline, you may worry about their quality of life and the treatment they receive from other people in your family or at a care facility.

Elder abuse can take many forms and could involve professional caregivers, family members and even licensed medical professionals. If you suspect that your parent or grandparent has experienced abuse from someone charged with their care, can you use a nanny cam or spy camera to confirm your suspicions?

California has strict privacy and recording laws

In California, if you record someone in a situation where they have an expectation of privacy, you have to have the explicit permission of everyone involved to make the recording. However, there are some situations in which recording is possible without informing everyone.

If a caregiver comes into your home, you can typically install cameras in the home without violating privacy laws. Similarly, there are rules in place to allow you to put cameras in at nursing facilities.

Typically, you need either the permission of the adult that you know living there or the person acting as their representative. If the adult lacks legal capacity and their representative is the one you suspect of abuse, you may be in a situation where you cannot record in a nursing home without risk of breaking the law yourself.

Documenting elder abuse can be difficult

From differentiating injuries caused by abuse from the kinds of injuries someone might suffer a fall on their own to weighing the word of a vulnerable older patient against the caregiver they accuse, there can be a lot of complications when it comes to documenting elder abuse.

Obviously, you don’t want to break California law by inappropriately recording someone, but you also don’t want to leave someone that you love in a vulnerable situation. The sooner that you consult with a lawyer about the matter, the easier it will be for you to determine the most effective means of gathering evidence and protecting your loved one.

Fighting back against elder abuse may eventually lead to probate litigation to remove a caregiver or trustee who has failed to act in someone’s best interests.