Learn the Signs of Elder Abuse to Protect Florida Seniors

Research tells us that elder abuse continues to be on the rise across America. Elder abuse is described by the National Council on Aging as “physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, neglect, and abandonment.” It specifically refers to the abuse that occurs on the population of Older Americans. “Older Americans” is a generational term that describes citizens who are sixty years of age and older. As a generation, predators believe this group is more vulnerable to attack, easy to target, and less likely to report harm.

Elder abuse takes many forms. These forms can include, but not be limited to, physical neglect, physical abuse and emotional harm, but perhaps the most prevalent is the crime of elder exploitation and financial theft. Research tells us that one out of every ten Older Americans will be abused in their lifetime. Further, many of these crimes will be perpetrated by caregivers or family members.

As World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is celebrated this week, we all need to take time to appreciate and understand the attacks on our senior loved ones. Let us share a few signs to watch out for together with ideas to ensure that you may be better prepared to help protect the seniors in your life.

1. Watch out for large cash withdrawals. Large cash withdrawals should be suspect. Although there may be a good reason, it also can be an indicator of financial exploitation. Work together with your senior loved one to help monitor existing bank accounts to make sure the senior is not pressured to remove cash for a third party or that a third party does not gain access to use the card without permission.

2. Learn more about unexplained, new payments. Especially for isolated seniors who are reliant on caregivers or family members, pressure can arise to make payments to a third party. This could be someone who is providing services to the senior or the senior may have fallen victim to a scam. Ask your senior loved one about the company, person, or entity that he or she has started to make payments to.

3. Establish a pattern for daily communication. Predators target seniors who they believe do not have a support network. They are specifically looking for seniors who may be isolated and do not have anyone to rely on. Make sure you stay in regular, daily communication with your senior loved one. Establish a check in call time for you and your loved one so that you are able to remain as current as possible on what is going on on a daily basis.

4. Introduce the seniors in your life to technology. Chat messaging, video calls, and text messaging, are all relatively easy ways to stay connected with your senior loved ones. Although it may seem like a simple solution, video can be one of the easiest ways to determine if your senior loved one has been harmed.  There is so much you can learn from a video from a video call when you’re looking at your senior loved one face-to-face as opposed to only over the phone. Although it may take some time initially, help your senior loved one learn how to use this technology.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. Remember that elder abuse can happen at any time and be perpetrated by anyone. Do not wait to act. Contact local authorities and support the senior to ensure that he or she will be safe during this critical time. If you have questions on this or any elder law issue do you not wait to contact our firm and let us know.

How Will You Protect Seniors from Scams?

Older Americans Month is in full swing. Older Americans are seniors over the age of 60 years old in America. This May, and every month of the year, how do you plan to care for the seniors in your life and ensure that they are protected?

Start by ensuring they have the right Florida estate planning in place. For Older Americans, estate planning is more than just basic documents. To protect the Florida senior, he or she needs estate planning that contemplates a future in which he or she may need long-term care assistance outside the home. Time is of the essence for creating this type of planning and ensuring that the future of both the senior and his or her family is protected.

Long-term care challenges and issues that arise from the aging process, are just part of what elders today need to be protected from. At the forefront of these issues, there is also the concern of exploitation against Older Americans.

Unfortunately, as a demographic, seniors are viewed by scammers and predators as easy targets in comparison to other generations. This is one of the main reasons why many scams are focused on this age group. Let us share a few of the most frequent scams out there so you can protect yourself and the seniors you love.

1. Mail scams. As a demographic, Older Americans continue to be one of the most targeted groups for scammers when it comes to mail scams. The criminals send enticing offers through the United States postal office designed to manipulate the senior to take action. By acting through this type of scam, the senior is at risk of losing income, assets, and valuable private information. It is important to remain discerning whenever anything is received through the mail system.

2. Hurricane Insurance Scams. This is a scam found specifically in states where hurricanes are present. Similar to the hurricane contractor scam, the scammer is intent on preying on the fears of a senior. The scam promises 100% coverage in the event of a possible, future natural disaster although there is no intent to ever pay on the premium that is required up front. Although hurricane insurance can be a good choice for a senior, be sure to research companies and use only reputable providers.

3. The Grandparent Scam. This scam is one that is designed to target seniors through emotional manipulation. Through this scam, the senior receives a phone call from a distraught loved one, usually someone claiming to be a grandchild. The perpetrator calls at a time designed to catch the senior unaware, usually very early in the morning or late at night. Although this type of emotional manipulation can be difficult to withstand, do not provide financial information or wire money. Instead, take down your “grandchild’s” information and contact a parent to assist them.

4. The IRS Scam. It is important for seniors to know that the IRS will never call you on the phone. The IRS prefers to communicate in writing and will never spontaneously request payment be made over the telephone. Scammers frequently use this scam to scare others with the threat of liens on the home, property, or checking account. None of these actions can be taken by the scammer although it is threatened. Take down the caller’s information, if he or she is willing to give it, and then contact the IRS directly or your accountant. Do not provide this person with any of your bank account information.

We know how difficult it can be as a senior to avoid scams. These criminals are intelligent and have designed a system specifically designed to prey on you. Do not hesitate to let us know what questions you have or if you have more scams that you would like us to be made aware of. We are here to help you now and in the event of a crisis.