In California, all homecare agencies, whether medical (home health) or non-medical are mandated reporters of elder abuse. Abuse can take many forms, however, from “simple” neglect (benign or otherwise) to physical or financial.
We will be talking about some of these issues in several upcoming blogs. Today’s focus is on financial abuse of seniors. There are many good Internet resources on this topic. A few of them:
- Crimes of Persuasion – this site talks about many of the signs to watch for that might indicate abuse.
- Article by Karen Stephenson – sums up a good bit of research.
- National Committe for the Prevention of Elder Abuse – this is an excellent site for more than the financial issues
For us at Support For Home, this is a very personal issue. Many of us have seen episodes of attempted — or worse, successful — financial abuse of seniors. Our Director of Client Services even wrote her Master’s thesis on this topic.
It is one we make sure our Home Care Aides are sensitive to, not just in terms of avoiding anything that could be interpreted as abuse, but also awareness of the signs that it may be occurring. One of the dangers is that when an elderly citizen reports issues — items missing, not as much money as they used to have, … — some people might simply dismiss as “forgetfulness” or “senior moments”. This must not happen. If there are signs of possible abuse, they must not be ignored and must be looked into by the appropriate people.
There are far too many stories of financial abuse by the caregiver population, whether family, “friends” or employed. We are dedicated to ensuring it does not happen on our watch.
If you have stories to share, lessons we can all learn from, please let us know.
Best wishes, Bert