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Friday, February 15, 2019

Five Tips For Fighting Elder Abuse

When we teach our kids about bullies, we tell them that bullies are actually weak. They pick on people because they want to feel better about themselves, so they target the lonely, the weak, and the disheartened.

It turns out we should be listening to our own advice. As our parents and grandparents become older, and we become their caretakers, we must be prepared to look out for bullies. Because that’s what people who abuse our elders are — bullies. They target some of society’s most vulnerable people because they get something out of it — be it power and control or wealth. 

Below are five practical tips for detecting and stopping elder abuse that we can all put into action; because all of us have a responsibility to stand up to bullies and abusers.

1. Share the Love


The number one way to prevent abuse is to keep your loved ones from becoming vulnerable to it. Let them know you love and appreciate them. Visit them, call them, let them know you are thinking about them. Ask your loved ones’ friends and neighbors to do the same. And don’t be afraid to reach out and check up on your ageing neighbors on behalf of their loved ones. Bullies prey on the weak, so make sure your loved ones have a strong social support system in place. 

2. Know the Signs of Abuse 

It is impossible to prevent abuse if you don’t know what abuse is or what it looks like. First, it is important to note that elder abuse is not just physical abuse. Emotional and financial abuse are just as serious, and just as important to put a stop to. 

Here are a few common red flags that may indicate your loved one is being abused:

  • Drastic mood swings or uncharacteristic changes in a senior’s behavior could indicate psychological or emotional abuse.

  • Unexplained or inadequately explained injuries may be a sign of physical abuse.

Unexpected property transfers or giving excessive financial “gifts,” may indicate a senior is a victim of financial exploitation.

3. Learn How To Talk About Abuse

People who are being abused cannot always be relied on to tell the truth about what is happening to them. Many are ashamed to admit they are no longer able to take care of themselves. Or they worry that making such an admission will cause you to freak out and put them in a nursing home or take away some of their remaining freedoms. 

Focus on opening up a dialogue to ensure your loved ones are confident they can confide in you. Reassure them that you are on their side. 

4. Cut Off Opportunities for Abuse


If you are worried your loved ones may be taken in by a fraudster, limit the ability of fraudsters to reach them. 

  • Work with an estate planning attorney to get power of attorney documents in place so you can monitor and manage your loved one’s finances. 
  • Help your loved ones sign up for the Do Not Call Registry online or call 888-382-1222 to reduce telemarketing calls.
  • Get a list of all your loved ones’ online accounts and passwords so you can help manage their privacy settings, and take over the account if needed. 
  • Repeatedly emphasize the importance of securing their identify.Make sure they know it is never okay to give out their financial information or Social Security number over the phone. 


5. Know Who To Report Abuse To

Know who to report abuse to so you can take swift action if you suspect your loved ones are being abused. Adult Protective Services agencies investigate, and can respond to, suspected abuse. Long-Term Care Ombudsman programs advocate for residents of care facilities. Area Agency on Aging and Aging and Disability Resource Centers can offer meals, health and wellness programs, and caregiver support programs, and Older Americans Act Legal Services Providers can offer legal help. The Federal government’s Eldercare Locator (800-677-1116) can connect you to all of these programs.

If you believe someone is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.


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| Phone: 803-594-4453
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| Phone: 704-369-9977

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