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Prevent elder abuse

Learn more about ways to prevent elder abuse.

How can elder abuse be prevented?

If you’re an older adult, you can stay safe by:

  • Taking care of your health
  • Seeking professional help for drug, alcohol, and depression concerns, and urging family members to get help for these problems
  • Attending support groups for spouses and learning about domestic violence services
  • Planning for your own future. With a power of attorney or a living will, you can address health care decisions now to avoid confusion and family problems later. Seek independent advice from someone you trust before signing any documents.
  • Staying active in the community and connected with friends and family. This will decrease social isolation, which has been connected to elder abuse.
  • Posting and opening your own mail
  • Not giving personal information over the phone
  • Using direct deposit for all checks
  • Having your own phone
  • Reviewing your will periodically
  • Knowing your rights. If you engage the services of a paid or family caregiver, you have the right to voice your preferences and concerns. If you live in a nursing home, call your Long Term Care Ombudsman. The ombudsman is your advocate and has the power to intervene.

Source: The National Council on Aging

Tips for avoiding scams

  • Never give out personal information over the telephone such as Social Security number, date of birth, credit card number, bank account number or Medicare number, if you have not initiated the call.
  • Do not give out personal information in person if you have not scheduled an appointment with the caller at your door.  Many scam artists target the elderly at home by going door-to-door.
  • Only give out personal information over the telephone if you have initiated the call to make a purchase or a charitable donation
  • Never give in to pressure tactics from a caller. A legitimate business or charitable organization will not pressure you into making a purchase or giving a donation.
  • Remember, if you feel pressured or suspicious of the caller, you can always hang up!
  • Remember, you can request the caller to give you their telephone number and you can make the call yourself before giving out personal information. A tactic of the Drug Discount Card Scam is to give the elder person a telephone number that is disconnected.

Where you can learn more

National Center on Law & Elder Rights

USC Center on Elder Mistreatment

USC National Center on Elder Abuse

CFPB Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans

Department of Justice: Elder justice Initiative

US Government Accountability Office (GAO)

Elder Justice Roadmap Project

Elder Justice Coalition

Ageless Alliance

National Adult Protective Services Association

National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center

Administration for Community Living (ACL): Protecting Rights and Preventing Abuse 

Savvy Saving Seniors: Steps to Avoiding Scams 

Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement 

Elder Financial Protection Network 

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