Sheriff's Office Recognizes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Today, as part of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office joins others around the globe to help bring attention and understanding to the often unspoken issues surrounding the physical, emotional, and financial abuse of elders. These victims are moms, dads, grandparents, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, neighbors and friends who quite often are hiding in plain sight.

As we strive to honor and assist our aging population, it is important we acknowledge their vulnerabilities to victimization, work together to find local solutions, and continue to educate others about the warning signs of abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Because abuse and exploitation of the elderly can be tricky to spot, please be aware of the red flags listed below:

  • A caregiver who has control of a senior’s money is failing to provide for their needs;
  • Large withdrawals or purchases are made for items not beneficial to the senior;
  • Suspicious changes are made to the vulnerable adult’s will, power of attorney, title or policy, but they are unable to comprehend the transaction and what it means;
  • There are a lack of necessities at home- electric, water, food – yet the caregiver appears to be well-taken care of;
  • Changes in behavior, withdrawal from friends or family, does not want to talk about finances, seems nervous or afraid when caregiver is around;
  • Unexplained signs of injury, such as bruises, welts, scars, or burns;
  • An on-line romance quickly blooms and the senior is very protective of their newfound love. Despite the warning signs, they begin sending money or gifts to their new boyfriend/girlfriend in order to help with “emergencies”;  
  • Older adult claims to have won the lottery or sweepstakes and is paying for shipping fees via Western Union or prepaid debit cards;
  • When the individual no longer takes care of themselves or their surroundings and refuses to get assistance, this is self-neglect.

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 service agencies, call United Way 211. In an emergency dial 911, and for law enforcement assistance, call the Lee County Sheriff Office at 239-477-1000.