Senior Citizen Crime Prevention Tips
WHAT IS ELDER ABUSE?
Elder abuse includes:
- Physical violence
- Verbal abuse
- Financial exploitation
- Emotional abuse
- Violation of an older person’s privacy or other basic rights.
WHO ARE THE VICTIMS OF ELDER ABUSE?
Victims are most likely to be:
- Age 75 or over
- Dependent on the abuser for basic needs
- Suffering from a mental or physical illness
WHO ARE THE ABUSERS?
Many times, they’re family members who are acting as care givers. Abusers often suffer from:
- Stress- When added to personal and financial problems, the strain of caring for an older person can cause frustration. Unrelieved stress increases the possibility of abuse.
- Alcohol and other drug problems- Alcoholism and other drug use may play a major role in elder abuse.
- Dependency- While a victim may rely on the abuser for basic needs, the reverse may also be true. The abuser may depend on the older person for basic needs, especially money or housing.
HOW ARE OLDER PEOPLE ABUSED?
In many ways, Elder abuse may take the form of:
- Physical abuse- Victims are kicked, punched, slapped, beaten–even raped. Pain, injury, or death may result.
- Neglect- Failure to provide medicine, food, or personal care (such as help to the bathroom) is a common form of abuse.
- Financial exploitation- Abusers may steal or mismanage money, property, savings, or credit cards. Older people may be forced to sign a will or turn over assets.
- Rights violations- Victims may be unfairly confined or forced out of the home. Their behavior may be strictly controlled.
- Psychological abuse- Older people may be intentionally isolated or denied companionship. Abusers may threaten or verbally attack them.
- Older people may be forced to live in unsanitary conditions, or in unventilated, poorly heated or cooled rooms.
- Over medicating, or withholding aids (eyeglasses, dentures, etc.) is also abuse.
WHAT CARE GIVERS CAN DO
If you’re a care giver, it may help to:
Talk out problems if you’re experiencing conflict with family members or elderly relatives. Plan free time to do something you enjoy each day. Seek help from friends and family members when you need it. Join a support group for care providers. Many communities have them. Consider using an adult day-care center, hiring a home health aide, or taking care giver-training classes.
Aside from abuse by care givers, many of our senior citizens are taken advantage of by fly-by-night salesmen or mail/order deals that are just “too good to be true.” If you are contacted either by mail or in person where in you are to part with your money, be aware of some “deals” that constitute financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult.
WATCH OUT FOR CREDIT CARD SCAMS
Never give your credit card number over the phone unless you’ve made the call to a reputable business. Retain all carbons and charge slips when shopping, eating out, etc. Check monthly statements for unauthorized charges.