9 Tips for Seniors to Protect Themselves Against Elder Abuse

9 Tips for Seniors to Protect Themselves Against Elder Abuse

Every June 15th, is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

This is an opportunity for all of us to learn about the mistreatment of Older Americans together with ways to prevent it.

Unfortunately, research tells us elder abuse continues to be on the rise across the nation.

Whether it is due to the increasing population of seniors in America today or from new ways to report it is happening, this is a potential epidemic we all need to be aware of.

How can you help your aging loved ones stay safe? How can you ensure they are safe inside and outside the home? Regrettably, over 60% of all cases start with a family member. Our goal is to help educate you on this critical elder care issue. In honor of this annual event, let us share nine ways the seniors you know can protect themselves.

1. Devise a plan in advance. Talk with family and friends, and anyone else you trust, about what to do if you ever feel you’re at risk of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation.

2. Keep in touch with your support system on a regular basis. Isolation is unhealthy, and it can also make you vulnerable to abuse.

3. Stay active within your personal network. This includes getting involved in senior-friendly activities and social groups. Forge friendships with those who would understand if you needed to share your concerns or experiences.

4. Continue to get more education. Learn about the different types of elder abuse, which can be physical, emotional or sexual in nature, but also may include financial exploitation and forms of neglect.

5. Try to avoid scams. Try to make it your practice not give out your personal information, such as your Social Security number or bank account number over the phone or on the internet. Also, register your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry to reduce contact with telemarketers and aggressive sales people.

6. Ask for help. Again, when possible consult someone you trust before taking any actions involving your signature or large amounts of money. Do not allow yourself to be pressured or intimidated into making decisions.

7. Check in on your Florida estate planning documents. Your documents can ensure that a trusted individual can have legal authority to make decisions should you need help. For example, consider a durable power of attorney. This is a legal document that allows a trusted confidant to make decisions on your behalf, including when you are incapable of handling your own affairs.

8. Do your research. Anyone who is going to help you needs to be fully checked out. Make sure your caregivers have been properly screened, and criminal background checks have been completed.

9. Report abuse immediately. There are plenty of people who can help. Tell trusted family members and friends as soon as possible, and know that doctors, health care professionals, clergy, and others, have a mandatory duty to contact the authorities. Further, in Florida you can report to ensure that you can be kept safe under all circumstances!

We know this can be a difficult topic to discuss and even harder to manage. Do not wait to ask us your elder care issues. We are your local community law firm here to help you and your loved ones in the state of Florida.

A Durable Power of Attorney Can Help Protect Florida Seniors With Dementia from Elder Abuse

A Durable Power of Attorney Can Help Protect Florida Seniors With Dementia from Elder Abuse

Every year millions of adults over age sixty experience some type of abuse. According to the National Council on Aging, elder abuse “includes physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, neglect, and abandonment. Perpetrators include children, other family members, and spouses—as well as staff at nursing homes, assisted living, and other facilities.”

Adults with dementia, however, experience a much higher rate of elder abuse.

According to the University of California, Irvine Center on Elder Abuse and Neglect, nearly one-in-two seniors with dementia, or roughly forty-seven percent, has been abused.

It defies belief that some people would harm the elderly, much less older adults with cognitive disabilities. Unfortunately, though, it does happen with more and more frequency.

These seniors are especially vulnerable because dementia, which includes Alzheimer’s Disease, can involve impaired memory, communication skills, and judgment.

Further, afflicted seniors are also less likely to report abuse and many might not even realize when abuse is happening to their person.

How can we work to prevent this from occurring to our Florida senior loved ones?

One of the best ways to protect a Florida senior from elder abuse is to proactively obtain a Florida durable power of attorney.

A power of attorney grants a designated person, like an adult child of an aging parent, the legal right to make decisions on his or her behalf. In general, it is one of the most important legal documents adult children of aging seniors can acquire to help a parent. Adding a durability provision ensures that the agreement can remain legally valid should the elder adult become incapacitated at any time.

Powers can be clearly defined, if needed. With respect to finances and health care, however, a durable power of attorney can allow for the hiring and firing of caregivers and health care providers, as well as, the ability to access bank accounts, investments and property, in order to hire professionals and pay bills. Using a watchful eye for signs of abuse, a durable power of attorney can provide the needed authority to act in an elder loved one’s best interests.

Your elder care attorney can also help construct a document that speaks to each family’s specific situation.

He or she can also provide valuable guidance about your Florida senior loved one’s rights should there be concerns about their elder care in the future. Of course, should you ever need to report elder abuse in Florida, do not wait. You can use this link to report abuse in the state of Florida.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Do not wait to ask us your questions about this or any related elder care issue. We are your local community elder law firm here to help you get the support you need for yourself and the Florida seniors you care about.