Florida values elders and considers them vital members of society who deserve respect. However, the older people get, the more vulnerable they can be. They may experience maltreatment in various forms.
Fortunately, state law has provisions legally protecting elders from abuse, neglect and exploitation. They also encourage everyone to report any suspicions or cases of elder maltreatment to Florida’s abuse hotline. However, it is difficult to pinpoint these incidents if one is unaware of what they might look like.
Specific forms of maltreatment can be more subtle than most, making them tough to spot. Here are common signs of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation:
- Cuts, bruises and other physical injuries
- No access to necessities, such as food, utilities or water
- Mental health issues
- Dangerous conditions at home
- Unusual loss of weight
- Unhygienic lifestyle
- No access to personal or medical care
- Wandering or lack of supervision
- Unsafe habits, such as hoarding
- Fraud or forgery
- Unexplainable asset transfers
- Missing belongings
- Unfamiliar charges on credit or debit cards
- Inability to pay bills
Sadly, elders often experience these forms of maltreatment from people familiar to them. They could be designated custodians or caretakers who oversee their living arrangements. Unknown individuals could also approach elders to take advantage of them for theft and other crimes.
Criminals might prey on elders
Older adults tend to be targets of criminals who want to fool them into giving them sensitive information. They could fall for identity theft schemes because they might not be familiar with the new technology used to access their personal data and financial assets.
Getting involved is crucial to preventing maltreatment and other crimes aimed at elders. Family members can protect their senior relatives by visiting them regularly, noticing signs and reporting them immediately.