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 (many scam artists target the elderly at home by going door-to-door) if you have not scheduled an appointment with the caller.
- 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.