Each year an estimated five million Americans – an astonishing one in ten of all seniors – is a victim of elder neglect, abuse, exploitation or criminal activities.
How do you know if a loved one – or you, yourself – is being victimized? There are several simple steps that help recognize telltale signs.
According to The American Society on Aging, physical signs (welts and bruises) and behavioral signs (depression, fear, anxiety, etc.) are things to look for.
So are unexplained weight loss and mood swings, among other changes.
Help your vulnerable senior by staying in touch, giving him or her confidence to share information and concerns with you and telling you what needs to be shared about their abuse.
The elderly also need to help themselves stay safe. Reduce potential financial exploitation by signing up for direct deposit or getting an estate plan in place. Put your name on the National Do Not Call Registry to reduce telemarketing and robo calls.
Don’t make large purchases or investments on your own – check with an expert or loved one you trust.
Consult an attorney before signing documents.
In Florida, any individual who knows of abuse or suspects it is considered a “mandated reporter”: you’re legally obligated to report it to the Florida Department of Children and Families’ abuse hotline at 800-96-ABUSE (800-962-2873). Information you share will be kept confidential.
The Sunshine State, with its large number of seniors – many of whom are lonely – draws a disproportionate number of potential elder abusers. It’s important to be alert to any potential problems and help this vulnerable segment of our population to be physically, mentally and emotionally safe.
If you have questions or concerns about this tragic subject, we’re here to help. I am a personal injury attorney who does abuse cases. Contact me at GloriaLaw.com or at 772-287-1220.