It is an unfortunate reality that the elderly population in the United States are vulnerable to exploitation and elder abuse. This problem stems from various societal, biological, financial, and psychological issues that may be present in the relationship between the abuser and the abused. The American Psychological Association has found that nearly two million elderly individuals have been a victim of elder abuse, including physical abuse, psychological abuse, and financial abuse, among other forms of abuse.
How to Help Elderly Individuals in Your Life Avoid Becoming Victims of Elder Abuse
There are multiple ways you can help those in your life avoid suffering from the many different forms of elder abuse.
Whenever possible, step in to help prevent an unhealthy home environment for an elder. If you have seen past instances of elder abuse to an elderly person, whether it occurs in a nursing home facility setting or in their own home with a caregiver, take the opportunity to help stop the abuse from occurring again. You may have to research additional living arrangements or tour other facilities, but if abuse happens once, it could happen again, so removing the elder from the environment would be a positive change.
Use extra caution when you become aware that an elder person has a close relationship with another individual whom you suspect to engage in illicit drug use or who may have an unstable financial situation. People who fall into these categories may have an extra incentive to take advantage of an elderly person’s finances, so it is important to remain vigilant about any changes to the elderly person’s financial state.
Try to avoid allowing a caregiver or family member to make significant changes to an elderly person’s will. Of course, there may be valid reasons behind a change to will, but this is a common form of financial abuse and should at least be looked into.