Understanding Elder Abuse is the Key to Prevention
“Respect your elders” is an age old saying most of us have heard throughout our lives. Yet all too often, older adults not only experience disrespect but abuse. Approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60+
have experienced some form of elder abuse
. Some estimates range as high as 5 million older adults who are abused each year. One study estimated that only 1 in 14
cases of abuse against older adults are reported to authorities. Elder abuse robs older adults of their dignity, security, and in some cases, it costs their lives. (https://www.ncoa.org/public-policy-action/elder-justice/elder-abuse-facts/
There are many factors which make older adults particularly vulnerable to abuse. These include social isolation; health problems; mental and cognitive impairment; disabilities; a lack of financial independence; and dependence on others for transportation, errands, tasks and basic needs all increase older adult vulnerability.
It is important for all of us to know the warning signs for elder abuse:
- Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions or burns;
- Unexpected withdrawal from normal activities;
- A sudden change in alertness or unusual depression;
- Strained or tense relationships;
- Frequent arguments between a caregiver and older adult;
- Sudden changes in financial situations;
- Bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene, unusual weight loss; and
- Experiences belittling, threats, or other uses of power and control by caregivers, family members or other close individuals.
One form of abuse that can be particularly dangerous to older adults is financial abuse. The annual loss by victims of financial abuse is estimated to be at least $36.5 billion. The best way to protect yourself or your loved ones against financial abuse is to understand what it is and what to watch for.
Below are some examples of financial scams that are targeted to older adults:
- Medicare/health insurance scams – perpetrators may pose as a Medicare representative to get older people to give them personal information, or they will provide false services.
- Counterfeit prescription drugs – Many times these scams operate on the internet, where older adults go to find lower prices on specialized medications.
- Funeral and cemetery scams – These scammers may try to extort money from relatives to settle fake debts. Scammers read obituaries to attend the funeral of a stranger, in order to take advantage of the grieving widow or widower. They can then claim the deceased had an outstanding debt.
- Fraudulent anti-aging products – Many older Americans want to look younger, putting them at risk of scammers selling fake Botox or bogus homeopathic remedies.
- Telemarketing / phone scams - Scammers use fake telemarketing calls to prey on older people. Examples of telemarketing fraud include:
- The pigeon drops - The con artist tells the individual that he/she has found a large sum of money and is willing to split it if the person will make a “good faith” payment
- Fake accident ploy – The con artist gets the victim to wire or send money on the pretext that the person’s child or another relative is in the hospital, jail, or in danger and needs money.
- Charity scams – This occurs when money is solicited for fake charities.
- Internet fraud and email/phishing scams– The elderly are easier targets for automated Internet scams.
- Investment schemes – Several investment schemes have been targeted at seniors looking to safeguard their cash for their later years.
- Homeowner/reverse mortgage scams- A reverse mortgage borrower can be scammed.
- Sweepstakes and lottery scams – Scammers inform their target that they have won a lottery or sweepstakes of some kind and need to make some sort of payment to unlock the “prize”.
- The grandparent scam – A scammer claiming to be a grandchild or other family member will ask for money to solve an unexpected financial problem.
- Be aware that you are at risk from strangers and from those closest to you.
- Don’t isolate yourself, stay involved in the community.
- Always tell solicitors; “I never buy from (or give to) anyone who calls or visits me unannounced. Send me something in writing.
- Shred all receipts with your credit card number.
- Sign up for the “Do Not Call” list and take yourself off multiple mailing lists.
- Use direct deposit for Social Security, Annuity and other payments to prevent checks from being stolen.
- Never give your credit card, banking, Social Security, Medicare or other personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call.
- Be skeptical of all unsolicited offers and thoroughly do your research.
Now that you are aware of many of the different types of scam in which individuals are targeted, learn how protect yourself and others against financial scams:
What can you do if you suspect elder abuse? If you suspect you or someone you know is a victim of elder abuse, contact law enforcement or your local Someplace Safe office. If you are experiencing a crisis, please contact the Someplace Safe at 800-974-3359 or visit www.someplacesafe.info for more information. Accessible services remain available, including interpreters, live website chat, and text message 844-980-0169.
For more information on elder abuse, as well as ways to prevent it, visit: www.preventelderabuse.org/elderabuse/
For more information and resources on elder abuse visit: https://www.ncoa.org/.
For more safety tips for older adults visit: https://www.healthinaging.org/tools-and-tips/home-...
For more information on National Safety month visit: https://www.nsc.org/work-safety/get-involved/natio....
Someplace Safe Thrift Stores are Open
Someplace Safe Thrift Stores reopened on May 18, 2020. The agency has taken an attentive approach to planning and implementing new safety measures to keep staff, volunteers, donors, shoppers and clients safe upon reopening. All donations and proceeds directly support victims and survivors of crime, as well as Someplace Safe services and programming.
Alexandria Thrift Store hours are: Monday – Friday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm and weekends from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
Morris Thrift Store hours are: Monday – Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and Saturdays from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
Someplace Safe Thrift Stores are accepting donations by appointment only. This allows time for staff and volunteers to safely process, clean, and sanitize donations. DONATIONS CANNOT BE ACCEPTED WITHOUT AN APPOINTMENT.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment to drop off donations, please contact the Someplace Safe Thrift Stores at:
Alexandria Thrift Store 320-763-4677
Morris Thrift Store 320-585-6614
Stay up to date with the latest Someplace Safe Thrift Store Sales and happenings. Sign up for our “Text 2 Save” list to receive exclusive text messages with sales alerts and special savings.
Morris Thrift Store text list: Text “alexthrift” to 31996
Alexandria Thrift Store text list: Text “morristhrift” to 31996
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