Elder abuse is an enormous problem throughout the world. According to the National Council on Aging, millions of American seniors will suffer some form of abuse, usually physical, emotional, sexual or financial, this year. Many millions more will be afflicted worldwide.
It is an issue that may be best resolved through awareness and prevention. To combat the problem, the United Nations has designated June 15th as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. The event is a golden opportunity to learn about the epidemic of abuse ensnaring vulnerable seniors, with the goal to reduce, if not eliminate, incidents of abuse impacting the seniors in our own lives.
Elder abuse can be a single or repeated act. It can also occur by denying an aging person’s basic needs, and transpire within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, but instead results in harm and distress.
Where can you start in helping your aging loved ones? Identifying risk factors may be one of the best ways to fight back as it can help prevent abuse from occurring in the first place. Unfortunately, risks associated with elder abuse often stem from caregivers.
When placing a senior loved one in the care of another person, make sure to do plenty of due diligence up front. The research you complete can include, but not be limited to, these topics:
Looking for trustworthy people and reputable organizations,
Asking friends for tips and opinions,
Conduct a series of interviews,
Conducting background checks and driving record reports,
Not settling for the first person out of a desperate need for help.
Once you have made a decision, be sure to stay involved and remain vigilant about possible warning signs of abuse.
It is also critical to know that even family members can be abusers. Make sure family caregivers arrange for back-up support when they are feeling overburdened. Taking care of themselves will help them take care of their elder loved ones. Bear in mind, however, this is always one of the types of abuse that is the least reported.
Further, financial exploitation is another form of senior abuse. This can occur through phone or internet scams, unscrupulous caregivers, and even family members. It is important for seniors to stay on top of financial affairs, if possible. If not, allowing a trustworthy adult child to obtain a durable power of attorney can be an important layer of protection.
If you suspect an elder loved one is the victim of abuse, do not wait to report it in Florida. We know that this article may cause you to have even more questions about this or other elder care issues. Do not wait to contact our law firm to schedule a meeting with attorney Amy McGarry.