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Murray Journal

Murray seniors and caregivers invited to learn about elder abuse

Apr 16, 2019 03:25PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

Miss Murray 2019, Savannah Angle, visits with patrons at the Murray Senior Recreation Center. (Photo courtesy MSRC)

By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]

Last summer, an elderly Millcreek man, with a younger man in tow, approached a bank teller and withdrew $3,000. The 90-year-old man thought he was giving money to someone who told him that they were there to fix his roof. Trouble was, the roof was fine and the young man wasn’t a roofer. Instead, the scammer tricked the elderly man out of his money and was never seen again. Unfortunately, incidents like this are on the rise, and senior service agencies are putting out a warning.

On April 9, the Murray Senior Recreation Center will present their Third Annual Symposium, this time focusing on the topic of senior and caregiver protection; the Murray Senior Recreation Center have noted increased concerns about elder abuse from family and caretakers. The symposium will speak to these concerns by providing information and presentations on how to prevent elder abuse.

Registered participants can hear two keynote addresses and choose from four presentations. The cost is $8 per person, which includes a continental breakfast and lunch. Early registration is requested.

According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), there are many types of elderly abuse. Physical abuse happens when someone causes bodily harm by hitting, pushing or slapping. Emotional abuse, sometimes called psychological abuse, can include a caregiver saying hurtful words, yelling, threatening, or repeatedly ignoring the older person. 

Keeping an elderly person from seeing close friends and relatives is another form of emotional abuse. Neglect occurs when the caregiver does not try to respond to the older person's needs. Abandonment is leaving a senior alone without planning for his or her care. Sexual abuse involves a caregiver forcing an older adult to watch or be part of sexual acts.

Elder abuse can also be financial abuse, including forging checks, taking someone else's retirement and Social Security benefits, or using another person's credit cards and bank accounts. It also includes changing names on a will, bank account, life insurance policy, or title to a house without permission from the older person.

Seniors can also be abused by the healthcare system. Healthcare fraud can be committed by doctors, hospital staff, and other healthcare workers. It includes overcharging, billing twice for the same service, falsifying Medicaid or Medicare claims, or charging for care that wasn't provided.

Research from NIA stated, “Most victims of abuse are women, but some are men. Likely targets are older people who have no family or friends nearby and people with disabilities, memory problems, or dementia.

“Abuse can happen to any older person, but often affects those who depend on others for help with activities of everyday life—including bathing, dressing, and taking medicine. People who are frail may appear to be easy victims.”

It’s estimated that one in 10 adults over the age of 60 are abused, neglected or financially exploited. Nearly 42 percent of all seniors will, at some time, be victims of theft; 58 percent will be victimized through Medicare and Medicaid fraud.

The Utah Division of Aging and Adult Services advised, “Appoint a trusted person to have view-only access or have an extra paper statement in order to be a second pair of eyes to watch for exploitation. Because a trusted person knows Grandma’s spending patterns best—like when she went shoe shopping and not gambling in Vegas.”

If you suspect someone is being abused, NIA recommends you talk with him or her when the two of you are alone. You could say you think something is wrong and you're worried. Offer to take him or her to get help, for instance, at a local adult protective services agency.

For more information or to register for the symposium, the Murray Senior Recreation Center can be reached at (801) 284-4237.