How You Can Protect Yourself During Elder Abuse Awareness Month
Did you know that during the month of June, as we recognize Elder Abuse Awareness Month and World Elder Abuse Awareness day on June 15th, that there are studies that report that one in ten seniors will be abused during their lifetime? In fact, many times this abuse originates with someone the senior knows, including family members and personal caregivers.
The key to protecting yourself or someone you love who is a senior is to be proactive with any type of abuse. As a senior, or someone with senior loved ones in their family, you need to learn as much as you can about elder abuse so that you may be able to take preventative steps that will stop a predator from either targeting you or a loved one. We would like to share nine tips for identifying and preventing elder abuse with you.
1. Verify that your estate planning documents are current and reflect your own wishes. This also applies to someone with senior family members. By having these documents in place before a crisis occurs, you will have your decision maker(s) who you have chosen already in place. Be sure that when you complete your estate planning documents, to inform the people that will be named as your agent(s) so that they will know what they need to do.
2. It is important for you to have a pattern for communication. Often predators target seniors who they believe do not have a support network. They are especially looking for isolated seniors who do not have anyone to rely on. You should take steps to avoid isolation. Set up a check-in call time with family, friends or neighbors and keep them up-to-date on a daily basis.
3. Use technology for chat messaging, video calls, and text messaging, because they are relatively easy ways to stay connected with family and friends. There is so much you can learn from a video call when you, as a senior, can be seen face to face with your family or friends.
4. Create a support team for yourself. As a senior you need a support team. Regrettably, as seniors age they may lose friends through moving away, health issues, or even death. You, as a senior, need to create a supportive local community who you can turn to in the event of a crisis.
7. Be sure to answer the tough questions. If, as a senior, you have bruises, cuts, fractures, or any other signs of harm, you must tell someone and answer the questions. If you have been the victim of physical, emotional, and even sexual abuse, again, tell someone.
8. Trust no one. This may sound like a harsh statement, but nothing is more true. You need to ask questions about everyone you interact with. Asking tough questions to people around you who you do not know will make sure you keep yourself protected.
9. If you are planning to move into a long-term care facility, be sure to do your research. First, find out more about the company who owns and runs the facility. Before moving in, ask questions, get to know the staff, and frequently visit unexpectedly. Ask to look at the annual reports that demonstrate compliance with state and local health health codes. Also, get to know the hospitalists and specialists who will be treating you.
These are just a few of the tips we want to share with you to get you started on preventing and avoiding elder abuse. As a senior this can be a difficult topic of conversation. Do not wait to ask us your questions and let us help you with this or any other Florida elder law planning issue.
Although elder abuse is not entirely preventable there are steps that you can take now that will help you protect yourself from abuse.
We know this topic may raise more questions that it answers and want to help you plan for the future, and the unexpected. Whether you're young and single or a married five-time great grandparent, your voice and wishes need to be known. Worley Elder Law, based in beautiful Bradenton, Florida, focuses on helping you understand your options in designing your Estate Plan or Elder Law needs. Whether it's preventative incapacity planning or establishing your legacy, we will take the time to explain every option and work with you to create a customized plan just as unique as you and your family are. Please do not hesitate to contact us to let us help you.