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Keeping The Elderly Safe In The 21st Century


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Keeping The Elderly Safe In The 21st Century

  1. 1. Keeping the Elderly Safe in the 21 st Century National Crime Prevention Council 2006
  2. 2. Workshop Goal and Objectives <ul><li>Attendees will be better equipped to assist their aging parents or other friends and loved ones from becoming victims of crime by </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Understanding the Processes of Aging </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identifying Threats and Challenges </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recognizing Signs and Potential Dangers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Developing Prevention/Intervention Strategies </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Introduction <ul><li>Senior citizens (age 65 and older) currently make up 13% of the population. </li></ul><ul><li>Baby boomers are entering that age group. </li></ul><ul><li>The number of seniors will continue to grow over the coming years. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Introduction <ul><li>As the senior citizen population grows, they will need more care and attention. </li></ul><ul><li>More adults will find themselves caring for and assisting their elderly parents and loved ones. </li></ul><ul><li>The elderly often turn to their adult children in times of need. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Introduction <ul><li>The elderly are sometimes ignored, even by loved ones. </li></ul><ul><li>They can be victims of crime like the rest of us, and especially of </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Physical abuse </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Financial exploitation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fraud </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Self neglect </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Why it’s Important <ul><li>As the population of seniors grows </li></ul><ul><li>Adult children will be called upon more often to resolve problems. </li></ul><ul><li>Public safety officials will get more calls for service concerning the elderly. </li></ul><ul><li>Perpetrators will more readily target seniors. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Senior Citizens <ul><li>Older Americans deal with issues like the rest of us, including </li></ul><ul><li>Loneliness or aloneness </li></ul><ul><li>Depression </li></ul><ul><li>But also age-specific issues, including </li></ul><ul><li>Retirement </li></ul><ul><li>Diminished health </li></ul><ul><li>Reduced independence </li></ul><ul><li>Dementia and Alzheimer's disease </li></ul>
  8. 8. Senior Citizens <ul><li>Some senior citizens are in great health and are fully </li></ul><ul><li>capable of caring for themselves. Many of them volunteer </li></ul><ul><li>some of their free time to help others by </li></ul><ul><li>Mentoring </li></ul><ul><li>Teaching </li></ul><ul><li>Joining Neighborhood Watch groups </li></ul><ul><li>Organizing community events </li></ul>
  9. 9. Seniors Volunteering <ul><li>On average, senior citizens volunteer less than other age groups, but when they do, they tend to become very involved and volunteer more hours than other age groups. </li></ul><ul><li>It is predicted that the “boomer” generation will be more active in volunteer activities. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Seniors in the News
  11. 11. Seniors in the News
  12. 12. Senior Volunteer Opportunities <ul><li>Senior Corps </li></ul><ul><li>USA Freedom Corps </li></ul><ul><li>Senior Citizens Bureau </li></ul><ul><li>Older Americans Act Programs </li></ul><ul><li>Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) </li></ul><ul><li>AARP </li></ul>
  13. 13. Elder Care Issues <ul><li>Many senior citizens are unable to care for themselves, and </li></ul><ul><li>require special attention. In these situations, loved ones should </li></ul><ul><li>watch for </li></ul><ul><li>Elder abuse </li></ul><ul><li>Financial exploitation </li></ul><ul><li>Neglect and self-neglect </li></ul><ul><li>Seclusion </li></ul><ul><li>However, there is also plenty of help available to caregivers. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Doctor Marion
  15. 15. Elder Care <ul><li>Make sure the health agency is insured, bonded, and that criminal background checks have been completed. </li></ul><ul><li>The Eldercare Locator can help you find appropriate care. Visit this resource at or call 800-677-1116. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Eldercare Locator
  17. 17. Things to Watch For <ul><li>There are several ways that elder abuse is committed: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Physical </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Emotional </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sexual </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Neglect </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Abandonment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In addition, seniors may neglect their own welfare. </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Signs of Physical Abuse <ul><li>Bruises, black eyes, broken bones </li></ul><ul><li>Open wounds, punctures, untreated injuries </li></ul><ul><li>Sprains, dislocations </li></ul><ul><li>Broken eyeglasses/frames, signs of being restrained </li></ul><ul><li>Over- or underutilization of medication </li></ul><ul><li>Caregiver’s refusal to allow visitors to see an elder alone </li></ul><ul><li>The senior’s verbal report of being mistreated </li></ul>
  19. 19. Signs of Emotional Abuse <ul><li>Elder is emotionally upset or agitated </li></ul><ul><li>Senior is withdrawn and noncommunicative or nonresponsive </li></ul><ul><li>Unusual behavior, such as sucking, biting, or rocking </li></ul><ul><li>An elder’s report of being verbally or emotionally mistreated </li></ul>
  20. 20. Signs of Sexual Abuse <ul><li>Bruises or bleeding around vaginal or genital area </li></ul><ul><li>Unexplained venereal disease or genital infections </li></ul><ul><li>Torn, stained, or bloody underclothing </li></ul><ul><li>An elder’s report of being sexually assaulted or raped </li></ul>
  21. 21. Signs of Neglect <ul><li>Dehydration, malnutrition, untreated bed sores, poor personal hygiene </li></ul><ul><li>Unsanitary, unclean, or unsafe living quarters </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of clothing or inadequate clothing </li></ul><ul><li>Inadequate housing or homelessness </li></ul><ul><li>An elder’s report of being mistreated </li></ul>
  22. 22. Signs of Abandonment <ul><li>Desertion of an elder at a hospital, nursing facility, or similar institution </li></ul><ul><li>Senior’s disorientation </li></ul><ul><li>Desertion of an elder at a shopping center, park, or other public area </li></ul><ul><li>An elder’s report of being abandoned </li></ul>
  23. 23. Eldercare Locator <ul><li>If you recognize any of these signs of abuse, </li></ul><ul><li>contact the Eldercare Locator help line as soon </li></ul><ul><li>as possible. </li></ul><ul><li>800-677-1116, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – </li></ul><ul><li>8 p.m. ET </li></ul><ul><li>Call 9-1-1 immediately if someone you know is in serious or life-threatening danger </li></ul>
  24. 24. Elder Care <ul><li>On the Internet, there are more resources </li></ul><ul><li>available to assist caregivers. </li></ul><ul><li>CareGuide@Home, </li></ul><ul><li>Doctor Marion, </li></ul>
  25. 25. Financial Exploitation <ul><li>The unique issues that senior citizens face can leave </li></ul><ul><li>them more at risk of becoming victims of fraud or identity theft than other age groups. </li></ul><ul><li>Caregivers should watch for signs of financial exploitation in their older parents and realize that these crimes could be committed by anyone – even the elder’s family members or other caregivers. </li></ul>
  26. 26. Financial Exploitation <ul><li>Many criminals consider senior citizens easy targets </li></ul><ul><li>for scams because they </li></ul><ul><li>May have a “nest egg” to spend or invest </li></ul><ul><li>Might be lonely and more willing to talk to strangers </li></ul><ul><li>Are less likely to report fraud than other age groups </li></ul><ul><li>No longer have their partner and confidant to talk to </li></ul>
  27. 27. Preventing Financial Exploitation <ul><li>Minimize isolation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Family and friends can help with early detection. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Formal credit checks of senior’s finances </li></ul><ul><li>Background checks on caregivers or people close to possible victim </li></ul>
  28. 28. Financial Exploitation Warning Signs <ul><li>Overdrawn bank accounts </li></ul><ul><li>Junk mail piling up at home </li></ul><ul><li>Numerous phone calls from numbers child/caregiver doesn’t recognize </li></ul><ul><li>“ Gimme” gifts—cheap, useless items like whistles, hats, rulers, or bumper stickers </li></ul>
  29. 29. Financial Exploitation Intervention <ul><li>If you suspect that an elder has been </li></ul><ul><li>exploited financially </li></ul><ul><li>Contact the local adult protective services agency. </li></ul><ul><li>Contact your state’s attorney general’s office. </li></ul><ul><li>File a report with the local police. </li></ul>
  30. 30. Telemarketing Fraud <ul><li>Criminals use high-pressure sales tactics and </li></ul><ul><li>psychology to exploit the trust of victims. Remind older </li></ul><ul><li>loved ones that </li></ul><ul><li>Offers that seem too good to be true usually are. </li></ul><ul><li>You do not have to be polite to salespeople. </li></ul><ul><li>When on the phone, always feel free to say “No,” and hang up. It’s not rude – it’s shrewd. </li></ul>
  31. 31. Telemarketing Fraud Warning Signs <ul><li>Beware of the classic lines below, which are often </li></ul><ul><li>used by scam artists </li></ul><ul><li>“ You must act now, or the offer will expire.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ You have won a free gift, but you must pay for postage” (or another charge). </li></ul><ul><li>“ Don’t miss this ‘high-profit, no-risk’ offer.” </li></ul>
  32. 32. Telemarketing Tip #1 <ul><li>Make sure seniors are familiar with the tips below and on </li></ul><ul><li>the following slides to make sure they aren’t victims of </li></ul><ul><li>fraud. </li></ul><ul><li>Never give out personal information over the phone unless they initiated the call and trust the person or agency receiving the call. Legitimate callers will not ask for this information. </li></ul><ul><li>“ I don’t give out personal information over the phone. I’ll </li></ul><ul><li>contact the company directly and provide them with the </li></ul><ul><li>necessary information.” </li></ul>
  33. 33. Telemarketing Tip #2 <ul><li>If the caller says something is free, then they shouldn’t have to pay to receive it. </li></ul><ul><li>They should not need to pay handling charges or taxes. </li></ul><ul><li>“ I shouldn’t have to send money for something </li></ul><ul><li>that’s free.” </li></ul>
  34. 34. Telemarketing Tip #3 <ul><li>“ Limited time offers” should not require an immediate decision. </li></ul><ul><li>Legitimate callers will not rush them. </li></ul><ul><li>They should sleep on it for a day or two. </li></ul><ul><li>“ I’d like some time to think about this. Tell me how I can </li></ul><ul><li>get in touch with you. If I’m interested, I’ll call you back.” </li></ul>
  35. 35. Telemarketing Tip #4 <ul><li>Be wary of any caller that tries to convince them not to speak with anyone about the call. </li></ul><ul><li>“ I’d like to take some time to discuss this with </li></ul><ul><li>my family and friends, and I’ll get back to you </li></ul><ul><li>if I’m still interested.” </li></ul>
  36. 36. Telemarketing Tip #5 <ul><li>It can be hard to understand the verbal details of an offer. </li></ul><ul><li>Request to receive details in the mail. </li></ul><ul><li>All legitimate business offers and investments should be able to comply. </li></ul><ul><li>“ If you can’t mail me the information, then I can’t talk to </li></ul><ul><li>you.” </li></ul>
  37. 38. Fraud <ul><li>The Federal Trade Commission received a total of 99,135 fraud-related </li></ul><ul><li>complaints from consumers age 50 and over in 2005 </li></ul><ul><li>Foreign money offers (10%) </li></ul><ul><li>Prizes/sweepstakes and lotteries (9%) </li></ul><ul><li>Internet auctions (9%) </li></ul><ul><li>Internet services and computer complaints (6%) </li></ul><ul><li>Shop-at-home/catalog sales (6%) </li></ul><ul><li>Telephone services (3%) </li></ul>
  38. 39. Identity Theft <ul><li>Seniors have the smallest rate of identity theft fraud victims; </li></ul><ul><li>however, the Federal Trade Commission received a total of </li></ul><ul><li>56,584 identity-theft related complaints from consumers age 50 </li></ul><ul><li>and over in 2005. </li></ul><ul><li>Credit card fraud (34%) </li></ul><ul><li>Bank fraud (18%) </li></ul><ul><li>Phone or utilities fraud (15%) </li></ul><ul><li>63% of identity theft is committed by someone the victim knows. </li></ul>
  39. 40. Preventing Identity Theft <ul><li>Make sure seniors are aware of these prevention tips: </li></ul><ul><li>Shred all discarded mail with personal information. </li></ul><ul><li>Routinely monitor financial accounts and billing statements. </li></ul><ul><li>Make a copy of everything in their wallet in case it is lost or stolen. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep records of conversations and copies of all correspondence. </li></ul>
  40. 41. Identity Theft Warning Signs <ul><li>Failing to receive bills or other mail </li></ul><ul><li>Receiving credit cards for which they did not apply </li></ul><ul><li>Being denied credit, or offered less favorable credit terms, for no apparent reason </li></ul><ul><li>Getting calls or letters from debt collectors or businesses about items or services they did not buy </li></ul>
  41. 42. Identity Theft Intervention <ul><li>If you suspect your identity or an elder’s has been stolen </li></ul><ul><li>Place a fraud alert on your credit reports and review them with the major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion </li></ul><ul><li>Close accounts you believe are fraudulent or may have been subject to tampering </li></ul><ul><li>File a report with local police where the ID theft took place </li></ul><ul><li>File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  42. 44. General Safety Tips <ul><li>Make sure seniors follow these tips at home: </li></ul><ul><li>Use sturdy metal or solid wood doors, and install and use deadbolt locks (1 ½ inch throw or greater). </li></ul><ul><li>Use wide-angle viewers in doors at different heights if necessary. </li></ul><ul><li>Light up entry doors; use motion detectors or floodlights. </li></ul><ul><li>Trim shrubbery around doors and windows and make sure the address is displayed for emergency personnel. </li></ul><ul><li>Give an extra key to a trusted neighbor. </li></ul>
  43. 45. General Safety Tips <ul><li>At home </li></ul><ul><li>Ask for photo identification from service, delivery or utility workers before letting them in. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask law enforcement for a free home security survey. </li></ul><ul><li>Consider installing an alarm. </li></ul>
  44. 46. General Safety Tips <ul><li>Out and About </li></ul><ul><li>Go out with friends and family, not alone. </li></ul><ul><li>Walk purposely and know where they are. </li></ul><ul><li>Walk down the middle of the sidewalk rather than along doorways or the curb. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep purses close to their bodies and wallets in front pants or jacket pocket. </li></ul><ul><li>Carry only cash, credit cards, and ID that will be needed. </li></ul>
  45. 47. General Safety Tips <ul><li>Out and About </li></ul><ul><li>Use busier, better-lighted stops on public transit. </li></ul><ul><li>Sit near the bus driver or, in subway cars, with several other passengers. </li></ul><ul><li>If someone seems to be following them, turn in the opposite direction or cross the street. If they persist, approach the nearest group of people and ask for help. </li></ul><ul><li>If someone or something makes them uneasy, trust their instincts and leave. </li></ul>
  46. 48. General Safety Tips <ul><li>In the Neighborhood </li></ul><ul><li>Know your neighbors. </li></ul><ul><li>Report crime and suspicious activities to police. </li></ul><ul><li>Start or strengthen a Neighborhood Watch group. </li></ul><ul><li>Find out if their area has community policing, and get to know the officers assigned to their neighborhood. </li></ul>
  47. 50. Emergency Preparedness <ul><li>No one expects to deal with disaster, but everyone can prepare </li></ul><ul><li>for them. Senior citizens should be ready to deal with </li></ul><ul><li>emergencies like </li></ul><ul><li>Hurricanes </li></ul><ul><li>Earthquakes </li></ul><ul><li>Power outages </li></ul><ul><li>Flooding </li></ul><ul><li>Fires </li></ul><ul><li>Toxic spills </li></ul>
  48. 51. Emergency Preparedness <ul><li>Make sure seniors stock up on supplies for at least three days </li></ul><ul><li>Food, water </li></ul><ul><li>First aid kit, medicine </li></ul><ul><li>Phone numbers of local and nonlocal relatives </li></ul><ul><li>Personal hygiene supplies </li></ul><ul><li>Battery-powered radio, flashlight </li></ul><ul><li>Change of clothes, extra keys </li></ul><ul><li>Cash, change, credit cards </li></ul>
  49. 52. Emergency Preparedness <ul><li>Checklist </li></ul><ul><li>Post emergency phone numbers by phone. </li></ul><ul><li>Arrange for someone to check on seniors. </li></ul><ul><li>Plan ahead for transportation. </li></ul><ul><li>Have an evacuation plan and practice it. </li></ul><ul><li>Find the safe places in their home for each type of emergency. </li></ul>
  50. 53. Emergency Preparedness <ul><li>Checklist </li></ul><ul><li>Plan ahead with their home health care service. </li></ul><ul><li>Teach those who may be providing assistance how to operate necessary equipment. </li></ul><ul><li>Be sure others know their medical needs. </li></ul>
  51. 54. Emergency Preparedness <ul><li>Notification </li></ul><ul><li>National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Call your local National Weather Service office. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Commercial radio and television stations </li></ul><ul><li>Door-to-door warning from officials </li></ul>
  52. 55. Emergency Preparedness <ul><li>Preparation for Pets </li></ul><ul><li>Assemble an animal emergency supply kit. </li></ul><ul><li>Plan in advance for shelter alternatives. </li></ul><ul><li>Develop buddy system with friends and relatives. </li></ul><ul><li>Visit . </li></ul>
  53. 56. Conclusions <ul><li>Keeping your elderly loved ones safe is easier when planned for in advance. </li></ul><ul><li>Talk to them beforehand about their safety. </li></ul><ul><li>Pay attention to what they say, so you can notice if things change. </li></ul><ul><li>Your local office on aging is there to help you care for the elderly. </li></ul>
  54. 57. Resources <ul><li>National Crime Prevention Council: </li></ul><ul><li>National Criminal Justice Reference Service: </li></ul><ul><li>AARP: </li></ul><ul><li>Health and Human Services: </li></ul><ul><li>Alzheimer’s Association: </li></ul>
  55. 58. National Crime Prevention Council <ul><li>1000 Connecticut Avenue, NW </li></ul><ul><li>Thirteenth Floor </li></ul><ul><li>Washington, DC 20036 </li></ul><ul><li>202-466-6272 </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  56. 59. Presenter Contact Information