In a country where the economy has bottomed, hard times have struck everyone. Unfortunately for our elderly, their fates hang by a thread. As the economy shrinks, so do their benefits, retirements and savings.
Our parents were raised during a time when saving every dime counted. They worked hard jobs, medial tasks, and sometimes more hours than we can imagine, to provide for their families. As our country grew in wealth our parents were able to save—their intentions, not to provide for their own care as seniors but to leave a small pot of gold for their children. They want their children to have what they could not have.
Sadly enough, our seniors are prime targets for scam artists and lazy family members looking for a free ride on the small nest eggs they’ve saved. Many seniors will pay more than their fair share to others out of fear—fear if they need help, they won’t be able to get it.
Take time to look at the harsh reality of our aging seniors and the trials they face from those they think they “can trust.”
One gentleman pays his yard person $250 a week to mow his yard, no bigger than three cars parked side by side.
An elderly woman pays a young girl $500 to buy her groceries for two weeks, never to receive her groceries or see the girl again.
An elderly man, unable to cook for himself, longed for biscuits and gravy. A young man brought him them the food from a local fast food restaurant and charged the man $100.
All too often, these are challenges our seniors face daily. The fear and insecurity of needing assistance and not being able to receive it forces them to fall into scams like these. It is not uncommon for our elderly to lose entire savings, even their homes to individuals who pass themselves off as “trustworthy.”
How can you help?
You can help by reporting any suspicious activities to authorities i.e. driveway paving, home repair deals, or anything where seniors are asked to give personal banking information or their social security number.
If you live next to an elder, make a point of checking on this individual regularly. Reassure them you are available should they need help and encourage them to keep their banking information private. No reputable person will ask for that information.
Should you notice a steady influx of strangers, contact a family member and verify the constant traffic.
Remind elders not to give personal information over the phone. Any services they need can be obtained at the local offices.
Suggest a welfare check with local law enforcement. These are simple pass-bys done by city or county law enforcement.
How to Report Abuse
If we do not take an active role in the protection, both physically and personally, of our aging parents and friends, who will? Abuse of any sort may be reported by calling the following numbers:
Adult Protective Services – 1-888-277-8366 or Sullivan County S.A.L.T. Council by calling 423-279-6042.
Help care for our aging seniors by becoming involved. It’s easy, and it’s important. Recommend an agency such as Comfort Keepers to help aid in the assistance of seniors, offering a safe alternative for senior care.