Sheriff's Office Recognizes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

In an effort to bring attention and understanding to issues surrounding the physical, emotional and financial abuse of our senior population, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office proudly stands with others from around the globe in recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on Saturday, June 15, 2019.

 Every year, an estimated 1 in 10 older Americans are victims of abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Those most vulnerable to these unspeakable crimes generally lack a social support system or have a mental impairment such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

 The signs of elder abuse can be tricky to spot and can overlap with some symptoms of the normal aging process. Below are some warning signs you can look for if you suspect abuse:

  •  Caregiver has control of elder’s money but is failing to provide for their needs
  • Large withdrawals or purchases made for items not beneficial to the senior
  • Suspicious changes are made to the vulnerable adult’s will, power of attorney, bank account or deed to the home
  • The older adult begins to withdrawal from friends or family, doesn’t want to talk about money, seems nervous or afraid when caregiver is around
  • There are unexplained signs of injury, such as bruises, welts, scars or burns
  • Unusual weight loss, malnutrition and unsanitary living conditions may be signs of self-neglect
  • They claim they’ve won the lottery or sweepstakes but must buy prepaid debit cards or send cash via Western Union in order to claim their winnings
  • A new “friend” suddenly appears and quickly begins to control the victim often alienating the older adult from longtime friends and family members. The victim may even appear to be brainwashed.

 To report abuse, neglect or exploitation, contact the Florida Department of Children and Families Abuse hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE, or online at www.myflfamilies.com. For information about local health and human services agencies call United Way 211. For law enforcement assistance, call the Lee County Sheriff’s Office at 239-477-1000.