June 15th marks Elder Abuse Awareness Day In Maine. Not only is this a call to action for family members of elders in nursing homes and under the supervision of care workers to be vigilant, but it is also important to consider the financial cost of this abuse.
It is estimated that along with the physical and emotional toll of Elder Abuse, the abuse of elders costs an estimated $2.9 billion per year. This stems from quite a bit of fraud that occurs along with the physical and emotional abuse of elders.
For individuals with elders who must have care of one type or another, it is important to be aware of not only the ways in which their family members can fall prey to scam artists, but also how to prevent it. Scam artists prey on the decreasing ability of some elderly persons to understand complex financial concepts in their later years. This is extremely important when you consider that it is not always pennies on the line, often it is entire life savings that have been put aside to pay for the care of these people that is being taken from them, leaving them with nothing.
Officials in Maine released a report detailing the warning signs of possible abuse and exploitation. These include but are not limited to the following.
- Social isolation of the person in question.
- Declining health and ability to provide one’s own care.
- Inability to deal with complicated finances.
- Dependence on others for basic care and services.
- Willingness to listen to telemarketers or respond to solicitations from unverified charities or businesses.
Additionally, as Governor Paul LePage of Maine added, victims of elder abuse need to be protected and that it cannot be assumed that the abusers are always caregivers, as it is possible for family members to exploit and abuse their elder family members as well. For this reason, LePage urges everyone to pay attention to and report possible cases of elder abuse.