Though often not talked about, abuse of our elders is unfortunately all too common. In fact, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), 1 in 10 adults over 60 have been victims of some kind of abuse. And out of those cases, roughly 60% of those are abused by a family member. How can we protect our loved ones from being victimized? Here are a few strategies:
- Keep them in good health. Make sure they are taking medications and have regular appointments. This also includes mental health, socialization, and purpose. Help them take part in regular activities and hobbies.
- Help them plan for the future. With power of attorney, wills, and other documents, decisions can be made in advance. This will clear up confusion and help avoid conflicts and issues later.
- Protect their finances. There are so many scams that prey on older people. Help your loved one by setting up direct deposit and autopay for bills, make sure they know not to share information over the phone, and keep an eye on their mail.
- Hire only licensed caregivers. This is so important! If they are still living at home and have help coming in, make sure they are reputable. They should be coming from a well-regarded agency and hold proper licensing.
- Watch for signs and believe them if they report something questionable. From bumps and bruises to being withdrawn and showing signs of depression, there are a number of indicators that abuse could be taking place. Trust your instincts if you think something is up and believe your loved one if they say something.
Together, we can help our loved ones avoid abuse, but it does take vigilance. If you have questions about abuse prevention, the National Council on Aging has lots of resources. Additionally, our office would love to help your loved one put together a complete estate plan, including a durable power of attorney, to make sure that their wishes are honored. Contact us today!