Elder Abuse - Pierce County
What Constitutes Elder Financial Abuse?There are many types of financial abuse of elders. Here are the most common:
- Taking money or property
- Forging a signature
- Getting older person to sign a will, POA, etc. through deception or undue influence
- Using elder's property or possessions without permission
- Telemarketing scams
- "Sweetheart" scams
- Reverse mortgage scams
What Constitutes Elder Physical Abuse?The most common types of physical abuse are:
- Physical assault
- Withholding food, water, medications, etc.
- Unlawful restraining (strapping/tying elder down)
- Failing to obtain/provide medical care
Why are Elderly Targeted?
- People over 50 control over 70% of nations wealth (NCPEA statistic)
- Seniors are often dependent on others to help
- There are predictable patterns of income (receive monthly checks, steady retirement income, etc.)
- Older adults are less likely to take action against perpetrator (embarrassed, illness, etc.)
- Many seniors are isolated/lonely
- Dementia/cognitive deficiencies are more frequent in later years
Who are the Perpetrators?
- Family members
- Maintenance people
- People with substance abuse/gambling problems
Who is at Risk?Every senior is at risk. Even the most professional and astute senior has been the victim of physical or financial abuse.
- Elders who are isolated/lonely
- Suffered a recent loss
- Physical/mental disabilities
- Lack of familiarity with financial matters
Warning SignsFamily members and good friends should be alert to some of these signs:
- New "best friends"
- Unpaid bills, notices coming in mail
- Bank statements no longer coming to elder
- Changes in legal documents (will, POA)
- Unusual financial activity (large transfers, unexplained withdrawals, large gifts, etc.)
- Unusual changes in mood of elder (quiet/withdrawn when usually cheerful)
- Unexplained bruising in unusual location (inside of arms/legs, etc.)
- Pressure sores that have not been treated
- Unfilled prescriptions, missing medications
What can you do?Please don't be bashful. Speak up.
- Watch out for each other
- Beware of unsolicited help (yard work, house cleaning, caregiver, etc.)
- Beware of sweepstakes scams (prize offers)
- Beware of sales people
- Have a couple of trusted individuals assisting with finances
- Observe elders for signs of physical abuse or neglect
What to do if you suspect abuse, neglect or exploitation of a vulnerable adult
- If this is a case of immediate danger, call 911 and report a crime to law enforcement
- Call Adult Protective Services in Pierce County anytime day or night to report the concern at (877) 734 6277 or 1-866-ENDHARM
- If the abuse is happening at a long term care facility, call the Pierce County Long Term Care Ombudsman at 253-798-3789
- Call the Pierce County Aging and Disability Resource Center to discuss your concerns and receive additional resource information at (253) 798-4600 or (800) 562-0332.
- The Pierce County law enforcement non-emergency number: (253) 798-4721
- Learn what the County Prosecuting Attorney is doing to help. Visit the webpage of the Identity Theft & Financial Elder Abuse Unit.