It’s estimated that over 2 million older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation every year. And for every case of elder abuse/neglect reported, as many as five cases go unreported.
Elder abuse can happen to anyone – a family member, a neighbor, and when we are old enough (or vulnerable as in cases of illness or other incapacity) it can happen to you. It is estimated that about 2.1 million older Americans, from all socioeconomic backgrounds, cultures, and ethnicities, face abuse and neglect every year. Act now to protect yourself from potential abuse in the future.
Have a Plan
– Have any checks (e.g., retirement, Social Security, Railroad Retirement, VA and disability benefits) directly deposited into your bank account. Contact your local bank or go to godirect.org for assistance with setting up direct deposits.
– If managing your daily finances becomes difficult, use a daily money manager. Allow only someone you trust to manage your finances. Visit www.aadmm.com for further information on professional money management services.
– Make an estate plan. Ask a local estate planning attorney to help you create a living will, a revocable trust, and a durable power of attorney for health care and asset management. Name a person you trust to make health care and asset management decisions for you in the event you are not able to make those decisions for yourself. Designating co-powers of attorney can ensure that no one agent can act unilaterally.
– Learn about your options for long-term care, in case it becomes necessary. Visit www.medicare.gov/quality-care-finder/ for more info on long-term care facility quality.
– Learn about the types of elder abuse and neglect and associated warning signs.
– Get on the National Do Not Call Registry to reduce telemarketing calls. Visit www.donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222 to register your phone number.
– If you are offered a “prize,” “loan,” or “investment” that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Consult with someone you trust before making a large purchase or investment and don’t be pressured or intimidated into immediate decisions.
– Don’t sign any documents that you don’t completely understand without first consulting an attorney or family member you trust.
– Do not provide personal information (e.g., Social Security number or credit card) over the phone unless you placed the call and know with whom you are speaking.
– Tear up or shred credit card receipts, bank statements, and financial records before disposing of them in the trash.
– If you hire someone for personal assistance services, in-home care, or other services, check that he or she has been properly screened, with criminal background checks completed.
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