June 15th has been designated as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. We join others around the globe to help bring attention and understanding to the often unspoken issues surrounding the physical, emotional, and financial abuse of elders. These victims are moms, dads, grandparents, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, neighbors and friends who quite often are hiding in plain sight.
Abuse of the elderly can be tricky to spot. If you suspect someone you know may be the victim of elder abuse, please read a few red flags listed below:
• Caregiver has control of elder’s money, but is failing to provide for their needs;
• Large withdrawals or purchases are made for items not beneficial to the senior;
• Suspicious changes are made to the vulnerable adult’s will, power of attorney, title or policy; but they are unable to comprehend the transaction or what it means;
• Lack of necessities at home – electric, water, food – yet caregiver appears to be well taken care of;
• Changes in behavior, such as withdrawal from friends or family, doesn’t want to talk about finances, seems nervous or afraid when caregiver is around;
• Older adult claims to have won the lottery or sweepstakes and is paying for shipping fees via Western Union or prepaid debit cards;
• Unexplained signs of injury, such as bruises, welts, scars or burns;
• When the individual no longer takes care of themselves or their surroundings and refuses to get assistance, this is self-neglect.
To report abuse, neglect or exploitation, contact the Florida Department of Children and Families Abuse Hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE or online at www.myflfamilies.com. For information about local health and human service agencies, call United Way 211. In an emergency dial 911 and for law enforcement assistance, call the Lee County Sheriff Office at 239-477-1000.