Each year in the United States, millions of Older Americans suffer abuse, neglect, or experience exploitation. The total annual financial losses attributed to exploitation of seniors here easily tops $2 billion. Awareness on the pervasive elder abuse problem in America is important in fighting against it as is educating the public on ways to prevent it.
Elder abuse is an umbrella term used to describe the physical, emotional, or verbal mistreatment of older adults. Financial abuse, sexual abuse, caregiver neglect, and self-neglect are also classified as elder abuse. With World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, or WEAAD, coming up on June 15, this is the perfect time to help seniors learn how to avoid abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
Did you know older persons are particularly vulnerable to financial schemes? Learning all you can about cons and solicitations specifically targeting seniors is a proven strategy for avoiding financial exploitation. It is also important to recognize that strangers are not the only ones who commit financial crimes against seniors. Sadly, friends, relatives, and caregivers do, too. Therefore, it is essential that you maintain control of your finances for as long as possible.
What can you do to protect yourself? As an aging American, you may be more susceptible to elder abuse if you do not have a strong support system or you are isolated from friends and family. If you can no longer remain in your own home, try to find a senior community, assisted living or a long-term care facility near your loved ones. If you cannot live near them, make arrangements to keep in touch regularly. You can also create your own support system by attending community events and social gatherings.
When it comes to caregiving for yourself or for an aging loved one, to minimize the potential for neglect, choose your caregiver carefully . If you cannot manage the process, ask someone you trust to help you with research and screening. You can also reduce the potential for self-neglect by staying physically and mentally active.
Our state of Virginia has specific resources devoted to helping Older Americans report and stop abuse. At any time you can “contact the Virginia Department of Social Services’ Adult Protective Services (APS) 24-Hour Hotline toll-free at 1-888-832-3858” and read more of the elder abuse avoidance resources on the website by clicking this link.
Several national organizations do the same. These are just a few:
· Eldercare Locator
· National Center on Elder Abuse
· National Adult Protective Services Association
· National Domestic Violence Hotline
· U.S. Department of Justice
If you or someone you know experienced elder abuse, you may be tempted to stay quiet. Please reconsider. You do not need to suffer in silence and you are not alone. We are always available to answer your questions, address your concerns, and provide any legal support you may need. Please feel free to call our law firm at any time.