We all can do something to help prevent and stop elderly abuse in our communities by becoming aware of prevention strategies and responding appropriately. Elders and vulnerable adult abuse situations come in many different forms. It is important for family members and caregivers to be informed and know that help is available.
Here is a collection of tools anyone can use to respond and take action on elder abuse.
- Knowing your rights. If you receive the services of a paid or family caregiver, you have the right to express your preferences and concerns. As a nursing home resident, your ombudsman is your supporter. Call your Long Term Care Ombudsman, who can advocate and has the right of power to intervene.
- Seeking out professional help and support groups for substance abuse, mental illness, and depression concerns and urge your family or friends to get help for these problems.
- Attending support groups for yourself, with family or partners and learning about domestic violence services.
- Be an active participant and planner for your own future. A living will or a power of attorney can help you address health care decisions now to avoid confusion and family problems later.
- Before signing any documents, seek independent advice from someone you trust.
- If you have any problem that threatens your mental, physical or emotional peace, we suggest you document the problem.
- Staying engaged and active in the community and connected with friends and family will lower the chances of social isolation, which has been closely linked to elder abuse.
- Stamp and mail your own mail, as well as opening your own mail.
- Do not share any personal information over the phone.
- Have your bank set up direct deposit for all checks.
- Having your own phone.
- Reviewing your will periodically.
- Get or stay involved in the care of your loved ones if they are receiving care at home or in a long-term care facility.
- If you are unhappy or have any concerns with the care he or she is receiving, speak to management or report suspected abuse.
- Regularly review your loved one’s credit card and bank statements. Make sure their legal and financial documents are in order to prevent financial exploitation.
- Learn about agencies, organizations and other local services that respond to reports of abuse.
- Get involved and learn how to prevent abuse by sharing what you know about elder abuse to others, raising awareness and volunteering.