On June 15th every year, the world observes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Sadly, the World Health Organization estimates that 1 in 6 people aged 60 and older have experienced some form of elder abuse. Yet, only 1 in 14 incidences of elder abuse is reported.
For the U.S., this equates to more than half a million cases each year and millions more that are unreported. This indicates just how widespread the issue is amongst the retirement community. In addition to the potential physical and financial consequences, retirees who experience elder abuse can go on to have long-lasting emotional effects, making the dream of an easy retirement much more difficult. With the incidences of elder abuse rapidly climbing, taking steps to protect yourself during your retirement has now become a must to avoid losing your independence, financial freedom, and idyllic retirement dream.
Educate Yourself And Your Trusted Circle On What Counts As Elder Abuse
A large part of protecting yourself against elder abuse is recognizing the warning signs. Elder abuse can occur in a long term institution or even in the comfort of your own home. Social isolation and increased anxiety are some common signs of elder abuse so ensure you surround yourself with a strong, reliable support network in your retirement. Elder abuse can also take the form of physical, emotional, financial abuse, or neglect.
Get to know the signs of each category as they can look different in each case. For instance, physical abuse and neglect may involve causing bodily harm or failing to provide a basic standard of care like ignoring to help a senior with basic hygiene and tend to be common in nursing home abuse cases. Occurrences like these often leave these facilities vulnerable to a potential lawsuit, particularly if you can provide evidence so it helps to know what to look for.
Know Where To Turn For Help
Many incidences of elder abuse go unreported because retirees or their families do not know where to turn for help or the protocol for reporting elder abuse.
One of your first confiding points if you suspect you are a victim of elder abuse is to a family member or friend that you can trust. There are also multiple helplines available that are dedicated to protecting seniors as they get older including the Eldercare Locator helpline and a directory of state resources provided by the National Center on Elder Abuse.
Alternatively, you can call 911 to report a case of elder abuse.
Get A Financial Team In Place For Your Finances Post Retirement
One of the most common forms of elder abuse targeting retirees today is financial abuse. Around 1 in 5 seniors experience financial fraud or abuse. In fact, it is not uncommon to find scams and schemes targeting seniors due to their declining financial capability. According to the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers, 71 percent of care managers say financial abuse is a growing issue.
At any age, having an expert financial advice team is a perk. As an investor, they are there to advise you on the feasibility and validity of investment options, or how to get the best return on your retirement portfolio based on your risk appetite. They also provide a needed sounding board for financial decisions such as investing in the popular financial scams targeting seniors like healthcare/insurance scams, funeral planning scams, or pyramid investment schemes. A great tip is to build on the relationship with your current financial teams like your banker or investment advisor. Since they have already successfully managed your finances and know your patterns, they can spot irregular activities.