September 26, 2021

Senior News Line: Are you a victim of elder abuse?

Do you suspect, or know, that somebody has been stealing from you? Maybe it’s items from your home? Or, maybe it’s your money? Or, perhaps you’re being pressured by someone to keep giving them cash.

If so, you are not alone. It’s called elder abuse.

The biggest problem is that these thefts are often not reported, typically because the one doing the abusing is a family member. Or, maybe it’s after the fact, and we’re not certain. Or, maybe we don’t know where we should report it.

Finances and theft aren’t the only forms of elder abuse. Others include emotional, sexual and physical abuse, neglect and exploitation. Emotional abuse, for example, can include threats, belittling and verbal attacks — anything that causes mental distress and pain.

Exploitation can be fraud, undue influence over your cash or property and being pressured to sign papers you don’t understand. Do you see yourself in any of those categories?

The National Center on Elder Abuse website at ncea.acl.gov is a good place to start. Notice the red banner at the bottom of the page with “Safe Exit” in white letters.

If you’re looking at the site and fear that someone will come up behind you and read what you’re looking at, quickly click that red banner and it will take you to an innocent-looking webpage.

If you are being abused in some way, help is available. In all states, there are professionals who are required to report suspicions of maltreatment.

It’s called mandatory reporting, and in some states the list of professions is very long and varied: chiropractor, occupational therapist, member of the clergy, attorney, animal control officer, bank employee and many others.

To get a referral for help, call the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116. If you are in immediate danger, call 911.

Matilda Charles

© 2021 King Features Synd., Inc.