Nearly 1 in 10 adults aged 60 or over have experienced some type of abuse, according to the National Council on Aging (NCOA). About 5 million seniors in the U.S. are abused each year, the NCOA reports.
Elder abuse isn’t just limited to stealing money from an unsuspecting senior. It also can be physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and more.
If you have a senior loved one in your life—or if you are an older adult yourself—how can you protect against elder abuse? Here are several tips:
1. Know the signs of abuse. Each type of abuse may have different signs. Here are a few examples. If you find these signs, ask more questions of your senior loved one or speak to caregivers or managers where they are living.
- Physical abuse: bruises, cuts, dehydration, broken bones
- Emotional abuse: new or frequent arguments with a caregiver, a sudden change in relationships or participation in normal activities
- Financial abuse: unexpected changes in financial situations, unpaid bills
- Neglect: bedsores, unattended medical needs, unexplained weight lost
The NCOA shares more information on signs of elder abuse here.
2. Stay socially active. Strong community connections and friendships can help ward off isolation, which can increase the chances of elder abuse occurring.
3. Have important documents such as a living will or power of attorney completed to help provide guidance on your loved one’s wishes.
4. Keep your financial information private. If you are an older adult, don’t give out personal information, such as bank account numbers or your Social Security number, over the phone. It’s easy for someone to pose as an authority (say, from a bank or the federal government) and even change their caller ID to look like they are from a legitimate organization. Protect your financial details to avoid financial abuse.
5. Know where to turn to help older adults or their caregivers if they have a drug or alcohol problem. Caregivers struggling with addiction may have a hard time taking sufficient care of an older person. A senior may struggle with drugs or alcohol due to abuse or for other reasons.
6. Speak up if you suspect abuse. Contact your local Adult Protective Services office, a long-term care ombudsman (if your loved one lives in long-term care), or the police. You can also find out where to go for help from the Eldercare Locator (1-800-677-1116).
Call Secure Aging to Find Out How We Can Help Seniors With Care Management
At Secure Aging in Bradenton, we transform the weight of the world into a sigh of relief for our senior clients and their concerned family members. The mission of Secure Aging is to protect and preserve our client’s independence and dignity through careful and thoughtful financial and care management. As our clients age, it is their desire to remain independent and age with dignity. Our services protect our clients from talented con artists looking to exploit and deplete the financial resources of our vulnerable seniors. Secure Aging helps families in Manatee County and Sarasota County and in and around the communities of Anna Maria, Bradenton, Bradenton Beach, Ellenton, Holmes Beach, Lakewood Ranch, Longboat Key, Myakka City, Palmetto, Parrish, and Sarasota. Call us at 941-761-9338, or visit us online at www.secureaging.com.