Caregivers are Key to Keeping Seniors Safe
By Bethany A. Stickradt
As The Kabb Law Firm takes time to celebrate our caregivers this month, I would like to thank all of these very special people in the lives of our clients. I am continually amazed by the love, affection, sacrifice, and patience that our caregivers show toward their loved ones. Without a caregiver, the elder could easily become vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 1 in 9 Americans 60 and older will become a victim of elder abuse. For every case of abuse that is reported, it is estimated that 5 more cases will go unreported. Elder abuse is not limited to physical abuse, it includes: physical, sexual, verbal, emotional abuse, neglect, self-neglect, abandonment, and financial exploitation.
Victims of elder abuse can come in all different types, as virtually anyone can fall prey to an abuser. Due to the dependence of someone over the age of 75 on another to help provide food, health care, and medication management, the elderly are susceptible to perpetrators. Of the incidents of reported elder abuse, 67% of victims are female. A victim of elder abuse is 3.1 times more likely to die at an earlier age due to the abuse.
It is very important to keep an eye out for our elderly family members, neighbors, and friends. Please keep in mind the following signs of elder abuse:
- Never seen out of the house
- Bruises, welts, cuts, wounds, burns, and blood that they cannot explain
- Loss of weight, poor hygiene, scared, agitated, tired, pale
- Cowers if approached
- Sudden deterioration of health
- Fearful, withdrawn, anxious, trembling
- Refuse to talk openly
- Constant need of approval from caregiver for simple tasks/decisions
- No visitors
- Fear of retaliation
- Left alone for long periods
- No food or meals
- Denial of most basic needs
- Poor hygiene: dirty, sloppy, wearing soiled clothing
- Poor or inadequate housing
- Lack of medical care: skips appointments, not following doctor’s orders
- Change of bank, lawyer or financial advisor
- Change in account, type of banking, and banking practices
- Undue influence
- Draining accounts
- Large sums of money being transferred
If you suspect adult abuse of an elder in your life or community, please get them help immediately. You can call your county’s Adult Protective Service line to leave an anonymous report. Please call the Kabb Law office at 216-991-5222 if you have any questions!
For information regarding the prevention of elder abuse in the counties of Cuyahoga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, and Geauga, please click here http://www.c3a5county.org/.
Also check out this link to protect yourself or your loved ones from phone scams:http://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/Files/Publications-Files/Publications-for-Consumers/Seniors-Publications/Phone-Scams-Checklist.aspx