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As elders become more physically frail, they’re less able to stand up to bullying or fight back if attacked. They may not see or hear as well or think as clearly as they used to, leaving openings for unscrupulous people to take advantage of them. Mental or physical ailments may make them more trying companions for the people who live with them.
Elder abuse can take many forms, and we all need to be aware of the signs. Elders are often targeted for their money. An unscrupulous caregiver might do any of the following:
- Misuse an elder’s personal checks, credit cards or accounts
- Steal cash, income checks or household goods
- Forge the elder’s signature
- Engage in identity theft
Typical scams that target elders include:
- Announcements of a “prize” that the elderly person has won but must pay money to claim
- Phony charities
- Investment fraud
If you are an elder who is being abused, neglected or exploited, tell your doctor, a friend or a family member whom you trust. Other people care and can help you.
New Resource staff members are trained in recognizing signs of elder abuse (including physical and financial exploitation) and are required to report any signs of abuse to authorities.