Preventing Abuse

Every vulnerable adult has the right to be safe. Here is some valuable information on:

6 Tips on what you can do to help prevent abuse of a vulnerable adult

  1. Keep a watchful eye out for family, friends, and neighbors who may be vulnerable.
  2. Understand that abuse can happen to anyone and know what to look for.
  3. Speak up if you have concerns. Trust your instincts!
  4. Find ways to limit the person's isolation if that is an issue. Discuss options with him/her or encourage him/her to contact someone who can.
  5. Report any suspicions you have of abuse.
  6. Spread the word. Share what you’ve learned.

15 Tips on what you can do to help prevent abuse if you are a vulnerable adult

  1. Stay busy and engaged in life.
  2. Do not become isolated from others or favorite activities.
  3. Don’t allow anyone else to isolate you in any way (e.g. not allowing you to talk to others unless the other person is there or visit a doctor, clergy or friends).
  4. Take good care of yourself for life. Older adults in declining health can become more vulnerable to abuse because of the increasing dependence.
  5. Maintain regular medical and dental appointments and take care of your personal needs.
  6. Be aware of the link to addiction problems. People who drink too much or use other drugs are at high risk of being abusive.
  7. If an adult relative, particularly one who leads a troubled life, wants to live with you, think it over carefully. Be especially careful if the individual has a history of violent behavior, drug or alcohol abuse.
  8. Assert your right to be treated with dignity and respect. Be clear about what you will and will not tolerate and set boundaries.
  9. Know your legal rights.
  10. Trust your instincts.
  11. Listen to the voice inside you when it calls out something is not right. Ask for help if you need it.
  12. Cultivate a strong support network of family and friends who are concerned about your well-being.
  13. Do not let anyone, whether a family member, friend or caregiver, isolate you from the telephone or other people or prevent you from leaving your house.
  14. If living with another, have your own phone. Send and open your own mail.
  15. When you need help, ask a trusted friend, attorney, family member or physician before you act.

15 Tips for protecting yourself from financial exploitation

Financial exploitation is one of the most reported types of abuse directed at vulnerable adults. Learn more about how to protect yourself against common scams directed at seniors from the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Attorney General.

  1. Do not give your personal information (e.g. social security number or birth date) or access to financial information to someone you hardly know.
  2. Do not give your credit card number, your social security number or bank account numbers over the phone.
  3. Do not add another person’s name to bank or insurance documents without legal advice.
  4. Be thoroughly familiar with your financial status and know how to handle your assets.
  5. Organize your financial documents in one place for easy and quick reference. AARP has designed a form to help document where to locate important documents before a crisis occurs.
  6. Telephone scam artists try to get your personal information by offering prizes, credit cards and other false benefits. If it is too good to be true, it probably is.
  7. Do not sign any document until you or someone you trust has read it.
  8. Get two or more bids for home repair work from reputable contractors. Do not hire anyone unless they are bonded and licensed. Beware of having more work done than is needed.
  9. There are many charity scams where the charity does not exist. Donate to known charities.
  10. Make sure you check the references of a potential caregiver and, if possible, perform a background check. Rule out anyone with a history of violence, alcohol or drug abuse.
  11. Get legal advice for questions regarding power of attorney or durable power of attorney. Make sure that the person you designate as your power of attorney is someone you know and trust well.
  12. Make a will and carefully consider all revisions before finalizing them.
  13. Be wary about deeding or willing your house or other assets to anyone who promises to keep you out of a nursing home or take care of you at home if you become disabled.
  14. Keep valuables in a safe place.
  15. Consider direct deposit for any regular monthly income.