Senior Citizen Crime Prevention
Many senior citizens are the target of fraudsters, abusers, and con artists. To raise awareness and lessen the chances of elderly individuals becoming victims of crime, we provide information about elder abuse and scams.
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 Older
- Dependent on the Abuser for Basic Needs
- Suffering from a Mental or Physical Illness
Who are the Abusers?
Many times, abusers are family members who act as caregivers. They often suffer from the following problems:
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 & Other Drug Problems
Alcoholism and other drug use may play a major role in elder abuse.
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?
Below are some of the ways elder abuse can take form.
Victims are kicked, punched, slapped, beaten, or even raped. Pain, injury, or death may result.
Failure to provide medicine, food, or personal care (such as help to the bathroom) is a common form of abuse.
Abusers may steal or mismanage money, property, savings, or credit cards. Older people may be forced to sign a will or turn over assets.
Victims may be unfairly confined or forced out of the home. Their behavior may be strictly controlled.
Older people may be intentionally isolated or denied companionship. Abusers may threaten or verbally attack them.
Unhealthy Living Conditions
Older people may be forced to live in unsanitary conditions or in unventilated, poorly heated or cooled rooms.
Abusers may overmedicate victims or withhold aids (eyeglasses, dentures, etc.).
What Caregivers Can Do
If you’re a caregiver, 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 daycare center, hiring a home health aide, or taking caregiver-training classes.
Beware of Fly-by-Night Salesmen
Aside from abuse by caregivers, 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 by mail or in person wherein 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.