Did you know that June 15, 2006, was officially designated as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day? June is also Elder Abuse Awareness Month. These annual campaigns were created to highlight the number of our senior adults experiencing abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
Do you as a senior adult, and your family and friends, know or recognize the warning signs of elder abuse? In fact, what would you do if you felt someone was targeting you? Did you know that millions of older adults are victimized in America each year?
You, your family and your senior friends can learn to help yourself and each other by knowing the warning signs of elder abuse and how to address them. We have a few to go over with you below.
• Be aware that there are different symptoms which vary depending on the type of abuse. Seniors who have been physically abused, may have injuries that they brush off or that they do not want to discuss to protect themselves or even their abuser. A senior, who has been verbally or emotionally abused, may become withdrawn or distrustful.
• Is someone asking for money? Did you put someone’s name on your bank account and now you are noticing large or frequent ATM withdrawals. Is someone using your credit card? These types of transactions may be evidence of financial exploitation. In addition, unusual signatures on an older adult’s checks may also point to this sort of abuse. If an older adult who has regular income or savings is suddenly struggling to get by, this may be another sign of financial exploitation.\
• A close senior friend of yours, who is being cared for, is beginning to look haggard in appearance and not taking care of his or her personal hygiene. The caregiver may be neglecting your friend and the results are an alarming appearance, including sunken eyes and visible weight loss. Additional warning signs include lack of proper hygiene, food, and clothing.
As a senior experiencing abuse by a caregiver, you may feel helpless, angry, or both. You may want to settle things yourself, especially if the abusive caregiver is another family member. Do not act alone or keep silent, you may do more harm or put yourself in danger. Instead, reach out to other family members and friends to help you. Your family will need to report the abuse and help you find another caregiver.
Never be afraid to ask for help in addressing any abusive situation. The sooner you take action, the better. Early intervention generally leads to a better outcome for everyone. Seek out available resources. There are numerous agencies dedicated to helping older adults and their families address elder abuse. Do not hesitate to reach out to an experienced Florida elder law attorney for more advice.
We encourage you not to wait to ask us your elder law questions on this or any important issue facing Florida seniors today. The experienced team of attorneys here at Hemness Faller, The Law Office formerly known as Emma Hemness, P.A., are here for you and your family and we want to be YOUR estate planning and elder law attorneys. After all, we are ordinary people, providing extraordinary guidance backed by years of experience and advocacy for the vulnerable citizens in our community. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with us.