World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is Sunday June, 15, and Better Business Serving Southern Arizona is urging Southern Arizonans who have parents being looked after by home care professionals to be alert for signs of elder abuse.
There have been several incidents in the Tucson area in the past several years where caretakers were arrested for victimizing the elderly in their care- both financially, and sometimes even physically.
While the vast majority of caretakers in Southern Arizona are completely dedicated to providing the best care they can, consumers should be wary of criminals who enter the industry with the sole intention to victimize the elderly.
“Just like abuse of children, many cases of elder abuse go unreported until something tragic happens,” Margie Lannon, owner of Homewatch CareGivers told BBB. “Many people just don’t recognize the signs and therefore the abuse may go on for some time.”
Many elderly people have been threatened to not report abuse, and are fearful of speaking up, Lannon added. In fact, the National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that only a small fraction of elder abuse cases are reported to law enforcement.
How can you help to ensure that your elderly family members aren’t being abused or taken advantage of?
“Visit family members often because bumps and bruises can’t be seen over the phone,” Lannon said. “Meet with caregivers regularly to let them know that you’re overseeing the quality of care being provided.”
Lannon also suggested that families looking for a caregiver for an elderly relative hire an agency to conduct a background check on all the caregiver’s employees.
BBB and Homewatch CareGivers offer the following tips to help consumers recognize and prevent elder abuse:
What is elder abuse?
Be Aware, Alert
For more information about elder abuse, and to find a business you can trust visit www.bbb.org/tucson.