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Understanding and Preventing Elder Abuse

June is a special month dedicated to raising awareness about a critical issue that affects millions of older adults every year—elder abuse. At Kaiperm, we believe in the importance of protecting and supporting our elder members. As part of Elder Abuse Awareness Month, we want to provide you with essential information to help recognize, prevent, and address elder abuse.

Understanding Elder Abuse

Elder abuse can take many forms, including physical, emotional, financial, and neglect. It is a pervasive issue, with startling statistics highlighting its prevalence:

  • 1 in 10 older adults experience some form of elder abuse each year.
  • 60% of elder abusers are family members.
  • 90% of elder abuse occurs in the victim’s home.
  • Only 1 in 24 cases of elder abuse are reported to the authorities.

These statistics underscore the importance of vigilance and proactive measures to protect our elders.

How to Spot Elder Abuse

Recognizing the signs of elder abuse is the first step in combating it. Here are some indicators to watch for:

  • Wills or Power of Attorney: A sudden change in beneficiary, especially if it involves a caregiver, could be a sign of exploitation.
  • Withdrawals or Purchases: Large cash withdrawals from banking and investment accounts, as well as an increase in credit card usage, can indicate financial abuse.
  • Unpaid Bills or Lack of Food: If a person is not paying bills or isn’t buying food or other necessities, it’s time to investigate.
  • Missing Possessions: If belongings seem to be missing, ask where the items went.

What to Do If You Suspect Elder Abuse

If you suspect elder abuse, it’s crucial to take action promptly:

  1. Report to Adult Protective Services: Contact Adult Protective Services at 1-800-677-1116.
  2. Call 911: If the elder is in immediate danger, call 911 without hesitation.

The Importance of Respect and Vigilance

As Nelson Mandela once said, ‘Respect for our elders is fundamental and non-negotiable.’ We stand by this principle, and we encourage our members to remain vigilant and supportive, ensuring that our elder community members are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

Financial Exploitation: A Growing Concern

Financial exploitation is one of the most common forms of elder abuse. It involves the illegal or improper use of an elder’s funds, property, or assets. Signs of financial exploitation include:

  • Unexpected Changes in Financial Documents: Look for sudden changes in wills, trusts, titles, and deeds.
  • Unauthorized Transactions: Monitor bank accounts and credit card statements for unauthorized withdrawals or charges.
  • Unpaid Bills: Be wary if an elder is struggling to pay bills despite having sufficient funds.
  • New “Best Friends”: Be cautious if a new person in an elder’s life begins to control their financial decisions.

Preventative Measures

Preventing elder abuse requires community effort and awareness. Here are some steps you can take to protect the elders in your life:

  • Stay Connected: Regularly check in with older family members and friends. Isolation can increase the risk of abuse.
  • Educate and Empower: Educate elders about the different types of abuse and encourage them to speak up if they feel threatened or uncomfortable.
  • Secure Financial Information: Help elders manage their finances and ensure they understand how to protect their assets.
  • Legal Protections: Ensure that legal documents, such as powers of attorney and wills, are in place and reviewed regularly.

Resources and Support

Kaiperm Credit Union is committed to supporting our members in every way possible. If you have any concerns or need further information about elder abuse, please visit our branches or contact us directly. We also recommend the following resources for additional support and information:

  • National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA): Provides resources and information to help prevent and address elder abuse.
  • Adult Protective Services (APS): Each state has an APS agency that investigates reports of elder abuse.
  • Local Law Enforcement: In cases of immediate danger, contacting local law enforcement is crucial.

Join Us in Raising Awareness

This June, join Kaiperm in raising awareness about elder abuse. Share this information with friends and family, and let’s work together to create a safer environment for our elders. By staying informed and proactive, we can help safeguard our elder members from abuse and ensure they live their lives with dignity and security.

Thank you for being a part of the Kaiperm Credit Union family. Let’s work together to raise awareness and protect our elders this June and beyond.

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