Elder abuse: The hidden crime
What can people do to protect themselves?
There are several things that older adults can do to protect themselves from abuse. Here are some examples.
- control and monitor their bank accounts
- understand all documents before signing them, never sign under pressure, and get legal advice if necessary
- be careful who they give their banking and financial information to, including credit and debit card numbers and passwords
- replace any credit or debit cards that an abuser might be able to use
- do not open joint bank accounts unless they want the other person to also have ownership of the money in the account
- set up automatic payments and deposits, for example, for bills and pension cheques
- think carefully before having someone move in or before moving in with someone
- change the locks if someone who is or was abusive has a key to their place
- have their own phone or another way to communicate, like email, and open their own mail
- plan for the future while they are still mentally capable, including preparing a will and deciding about Powers of Attorney
- be careful when choosing someone to give a Power of Attorney to, make sure they trust them, and know that they will respect their wishes
- maintain relationships with family, friends, and support networks, including groups in the community
- make a plan for care they might need in the future, and do not rely only on family members to be their caregivers