As an aging adult, do you know how to protect yourself from elder abuse? Were you aware that June is officially designated as World Elder Abuse Awareness Month, and June 15 is designated as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day? This annual campaign, which was created in 2006, highlights the situation of seniors experiencing abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

Did you realize that millions of older adults are victimized in America each year? You need to be aware that no elder is immune from experiencing some form of abuse. Therefore, you should keep yourself informed about elder abuse, be aware of your surroundings and your interactions with people and keep your private information protected. Most importantly, if you feel nervous about someone bothering you, reach out to your family, friends or the police.

You need to be able to help yourself by learning what the warning signs of elder abuse are and how to address them. We would like to share some of those signs with you below.

• Has someone tried to hurt you? Do you have a family member who has become angry with you and become physically, verbally or emotionally abusive? These circumstances are not okay and you must report them.
• Be careful of financial exploitation. Keep your checkbook, credit cards and debit card somewhere safe and secure. Be vigilant about your accounts so that you can be aware if someone tries to use your credit cards or makes an ATM withdrawal. Any transactions not authorized by you are evidence of financial exploitation.
• Do you have a caregiver coming into your home to assist you with housekeeping, meal preparation or dressing. Does your caregiver ever refuse to make your meals or help you put on your clothes? This is a warning sign of elder abuse. You need to contact family members or trusted friends to tell them your concerns.

Do not be afraid to ask for help in addressing any situation in which you believe you are being exploited, abused or neglected. If you do not think you can handle it alone, you should reach out to trusted family members, trusted friends or the police.

We recommend that the sooner you take action about any abuse toward yourself, the better. Early intervention will lead to a better outcome for you and everyone involved. Be sure to research available resources, contact your Florida elder law attorney and talk to your physicians. There are many people and organizations dedicated to helping older adults and their families address elder abuse.

We know you may have questions about this, and many other, issues. At the Perlin Estate Planning & Probate our credentials enable us to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to our legal services. By building relationships with our clients, we are also able to understand each client’s needs and desires, and we support such goals through thoughtful, comprehensive planning techniques. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting.