Do you feel you have been challenged to the limit since the beginning of 2020? When we turn on our TV’s, we are overwhelmed with news about everything from politics to economics to continuous coverage of COVID-19 and all the controversies these news stories provoke.
Yes, we have our differences, but what we all have in common cannot be disputed. If you stop and think about it, each of us longs to live our lives with dignity. We are looking for respect, love, and a sense of peace as we go about our daily lives. Most of all, we want to be free from abuse in any form.
Unfortunately, older adults are vulnerable and can easily become victims of abuse or exploitation. There are laws against taking advantage of the elderly and legislation such as the Elder Justice Act that protect older adults.
The problem is the elderly person being taken advantage of may not know it, and if they do, they’re reluctant to report it.
If the offender is a friend or family member, the elderly victim may not want to admit exploitation is taking place. Maybe they trust the person who is supposed to be taking care of them and don’t understand what is happening. This is especially true if the person has dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Download a Free Elder Abuse Awareness Guide
Taking advantage of an older adult can be subtle and can come in many forms.
Scams are committed digitally through suspicious emails that ask the victim to share personal and confidential information.
Theft can occur when an unsuspecting victim trusts someone with bank account information and gives them free access to their home. This is often the case with friends and family members.
Fraud can occur when someone forges signatures on checks or other documents without consent.
Investments can be mishandled or changed for personal gain to the handler to generate increased commissions.
Insurance policies can be altered or changed when the policyholder is easily convinced to do so.
These are a few of the common ways an unsuspecting older person can be deceived and taken advantage of by people who are aware of their vulnerability.
Laws to protect the elderly vary from state to state. If you suspect an elderly person is a victim of elder abuse or exploitation, there are steps you can take to help them.
Begin by talking to the older adult. If you have a trusting relationship with the individual, he or she might welcome your intervention.
Once you establish that exploitation or abuse of some kind is occurring, you can take the following steps:
Contact the Adult Protective Services office in your area and give them the information they need to set an investigation in motion.
Contact the local law enforcement agency if abuse or any other criminal activity is suspected.
Contact the person’s financial institution. They may not be able to give you any information, but you can alert them to your suspicions so they can be aware of a possible problem.
If you would like more information about identifying a problem and protecting the elderly friend or relative in your life, click here.