Know the Signs and Prevention of Elder Abuse

With Elder Abuse Day on June 15, Pasco Sheriff’s Office wishes to educate citizens on the signs of physical, emotional and financial abuse that older adults face. Not only is it important to spot the signs of abuse, but ensuring older adults are aware of potential dangers they may face is crucial to helping your loved ones and neighbors.

Abuse rates related to the care and handling of older adults have increased since the COVID-19 pandemic. With physical abuse being most common through family members and caretakers, it is important to look for the signs of abuse that may be happening behind closed doors. Some signs to look out for include unexpected falls, sores, medication errors, malnutrition, frequent crying and agitation. If you have a loved one in managed care, ask them questions about their care, be aware of what medications they’re prescribed and when they’re eating. Not only can abuse lead to physical harm, but it could also lead to long term psychological concerns. If you suspect that a loved one may be experiencing physical abuse, it is imperative to contact law enforcement.

Older adults are also more vulnerable to Internet scams. With the rise in new technology, scams have grown to be more apparent through everyday devices and platforms. It’s become easier than ever to be exposed to scammers as social media and email platforms allow for quick and easy ways to access your personal information. It is important to know the signs of what a scam may look like. An important rule to remember is that if it sounds too good to be true, it’s most likely a scam. Common scams will try to draw people in by announcing they won a prize or that they can make a large profit within a seemingly no-risk investment. Asking for cash payments, credit card information, or social security are immediate signs of a potential scammer.

Over the phone, older adults are commonly targeted when it comes to solicitation and technology support scams. Fake companies will attempt to gain personal information by announcing that there is an issue with their homes, technology and accounts. These scams can be quite convincing, often using personal information, such as their address or names of family members, which is often found through open public records and social media accounts. If you encounter one of these calls, the best option is to simply hang up.

Another scam that’s become more frequent recently and is impacting the older adult population is rigged gaming machines. There has been an increase of deceitful slots and other gambling machines within local bars. These operations purposefully make the winning odds of the machines close to zero which preys on those who sink their money into them. In order to prevent this, it is important to only go to gambling locations that are approved by the state of Florida. Playing at non-approved locations will put you at risk for financial loss.

Many older adults isolate themselves in their homes in fear of crime, as they are highly susceptible to theft. There are ways to prevent crime from both inside your home, as well as around your neighborhood. When at home, make sure to lock your doors and windows, don’t open the door for strangers and don’t advertise that you live alone. The Pasco Sheriff’s Office encourages neighborhoods to stay alert in order to minimize crime opportunities.

Spreading awareness by being a good neighbor and reporting suspicious activity makes communities a safer place. Knowing the signs of abuse ultimately minimizes it from happening; educating friends and family on the matter also keeps your loved ones safe. This Elder Abuse Day, take time to spread safety messages to the older adults in your life.

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