The senior years in a person’s life are often a time where enjoyment and pleasure can be maximized. With later life comes the freedom of no longer having to go to work and cultivate a career. Any children will almost certainly be adults themselves and will no longer need to be cared for. This often means that senior citizens have a lot of free time in which they can cultivate new hobbies, socialize and simply enjoy life. However, in the later years of life elderly people can be at a greater risk of being taken advantage of or suffering some form of abuse. This article describes three ways in which the elderly can be exploited or put at risk with tips on how to protect against these forms of abuse.
It is a common misconception that senior citizens are not tech savvy and struggle to use smartphones or the internet. This may be true of some elderly people but certainly not the vast majority. In fact, recent research indicates that around 70% of senior citizens have an internet connection and use the internet for a wide range of purposes from shopping to keeping up to date with emails. Whilst the internet can be of great benefit for senior citizens to stay informed and connected with the outside world, being online can come with certain risks. Acts of phishing and cyber crime target all internet users; however, the elderly may be less adept at spotting rogue emails or malicious attachments and links. Whilst many adults of working age will have received training in internet security as part of their jobs, the elderly may be less aware of the risks posed by being online. Thankfully there are a range of online resources that can educate senior citizens in online safety such as can be found here.
Nursing home malpractice
When an elderly person finds that they can no longer remain in their own homes (due to poor health or mobility issues) they may move into a nursing home. Whilst most nursing homes are professionally managed with empathetic and caring staff on site, this is not always the case. Many people will be acutely aware of reading about nursing home abuse injury or seeing the national news networks run stories on abuse and malpractice in these establishments. When these shocking events do occur and affect elderly loved ones it is important to report them to the police so that the involved parties can be prosecuted once acts of malpractice have been proved. It can also be wise to seek legal advice on matters of this severity.
As a final example of how the elderly can be susceptible to exploitation and at risk, rogue contractors should be considered. These types of people often pose as qualified builders or repair people and target areas where the elderly live. They will knock on the door of the house of an elderly person and will use a range of frauds to exploit senior citizens financially. These can range from saying that their house roof has broken slates (before charging the elderly person inflated sums to “fix” the roof) or that they would benefit from various home improvements that are often undertaken to poor standards of workmanship and for overly expensive sums of money. It is important that the elderly feel comfortable saying “no” to such rogue contractors and if they feel threatened or intimidated it can be beneficial to contact the police.