Adults older than 60 years of age experience neglect and exploitation at higher rates than younger adults. Elderly individuals and their caregivers must retain a reasonable level of vigilance when it comes to avoiding physical, emotional and financial abuse.
Some common sense actions can limit exposure to mistreatment.
Warnings to heed
The Washington State Office of the Attorney General lists some actions an elderly person can take to avoid elder abuse and neglect. For those who live in a group home setting, it is important to consider the stable nature of roommates or acquaintances.
If possible, individuals should avoid roommates who have violent tendencies or who abuse drugs or alcohol. Also, they should keep valuable items hidden away or locked to avoid theft from dishonest workers or from residents who have access to personal rooms.
Older individuals with cognitive difficulties should take care when signing important documents. Therefore, the elderly should seek help from trustworthy relatives, friends or professionals whenever signing a critical document such as tax statements, healthcare directives, financial reports and insurance forms.
Signs to recognize
Caregivers for the elderly should look for signs of abuse and neglect. Victims of mistreatment often exhibit signs of anxiety and depression. They might suffer physical symptoms such as loss of weight due to worries that affect appetite.
Sometimes, victims of financial abuse suddenly can no longer pay bills or buy food. This indicates that an unscrupulous party has siphoned money from an account or tricked someone into making an unsupportable donation.
Following a few best practices can help a vulnerable adult steer clear of mistreatment. Sometimes, legal action becomes necessary to correct wrongful actions.