HENDERSON, NV (KXNT) – If you’re like most of us, you probably didn’t even know there is an actual day called “World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.” It’s a real thing, designated by the United Nations.
In recognition of this global issue affecting senior adults, Henderson Police Department is highlighting the importance of protecting older Southern Nevadans from elder abuse.
Elder abuse is any form of mistreatment that results in harm or loss to an older person. Warning signs of elder abuse may include:
-An older person seeming fearful, anxious or isolated.
-There may be injuries or an absence of personal care.
-Disappearance of possessions, unexplained financial transactions and changes to a will, property title or other documents.
According the the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, one in 10 Americans over the age of 60 have experienced elder abuse or neglect, make it a priority issue. In 2016, there were 3,750 reports of elder abuse in Clark County. Leaders in the aging field are concerned that the issue is poorly understood, stereotyped and disconnected from meaningful discussions and that this is negatively impacting policies of prevention and remediation.
Another issue facing seniors is financial exploitation. Financial exploitation is the illegal or improper use of an older person’s funds or resources. Only one in 44 incidents of financial harm is reported to authorities.
Some examples of financial exploitation include:
-Using ATM cards without permission.
-Forging a signature on a check or property title (wills, deeds).
-Using a power of attorney to benefit oneself rather than the older adult.
-Unauthorized sales, such as a family ring or the family farm.
Older people can reduce the risk of elder abuse by making sure their financial, medical, legal and other affairs are in order.