This week’s topic is very relevant in today’s society. Watch any daytime television show, and you’ll find a number of stories featuring fraud, scam, and neglect done on elders. It is very common for an elderly person to be scammed by a online “friend” who asks them for money. It also very common for an elderly person to meet a “real friend”, or have a family member, take advantage of their 401K and Social Security earnings.
Our elderly citizens have been facing a growing epidemic of abuse. Whether that be physical, mental, or self-neglect, it is very much present in our society. The World Health Organization describes elder abuse as “a violation of human rights and a significant cause of illness, injury, loss of productivity, isolation and despair”. You’d think those in a position who can, would take care of their peers or elders. Unfortunately that is not how the world works.
What is elder abuse? It is the act of knowingly or intentionally harming a vulnerable adult. It is usually categorized as domestic abuse; abuse received from someone the elderly person has a special relationship with such as their spouse, sibling, child or friend. There is also institutional abuse; abuse occurring in a facility such as a nursing or group home, or a place of assisted living. “Self-neglect” is a special form of elder abuse, the signs of which are hoarding, not providing necessities for oneself, not taking medications, confusion, and not keeping oneself or house clean. Self-neglect can be a sign of Alzheimer’s, dementia, or a drug or alcohol problems.
Signs of abuse range from bruises and changes in attitude to a change in their financial situation. Silent suffering is very common. Stay alert for signs of changes in personality or behavior.
How to protect yourself or your loved ones?
- Vicious Telemarketers: Seniors are often the primary targets of unscrupulous telemarketers. These “people” have no problem taking money from seniors, even if they cannot afford it. Reduce the amount of telemarketing calls you/they receive by calling the National Do Not Call Registry at (888)382-1222.
- Singing Documents: Do not sign anything you don’t fully understand without consulting an attorney or trusted family member or friend.
- Online Scams: Do not send money to anyone you meet online, especially if you don’t meet them in-person. More often than not, they are scamming you both financially and emotionally, no matter if they say differently.
- Protecting Private Information: Do not provide private information, such as social security numbers, unless you made the call and know with whom you are speaking.
- Caregivers: Please screen any potential or hired caregivers. It is very easy to request a background check.
When and why hire an attorney?
If you suspect you are being taken advantage of or if you know of a loved one being taken advantage of, consult with an attorney.
Attorneys can put a stop to the abuse. They can hold the abuser accountable for their actions.
Jordan Law Offices’ pledge to you: We will speak to you and treat you with respect. We will evaluate your circumstances. We will not judge you. We will be fair, compassionate and professional.