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         Senior Crime Prevention Circular         

Elder Abuse
Elder abuse crosses all social, economic and ethnic lines. Any elderly person can become a victim. It is important to become aware of the possibility of elder abuse and recognize signs that might suggest its occurrence. Knowing what to look for and who to contact, if you suspect abuse, will help in correcting the situation. This awareness will enable you to help yourself, friends or family members who may be in trouble.

Fortunately, not all older persons experience this type of treatment. Nevertheless, elder abuse is a frightening and real issue. By being alert to situations that could lead to abuse of an elderly person, you may be able to prevent a serious injury or save a life.

1.) Look for any unusual unexplained bumps, bruises or cuts;
2.) Look for unusual changes in behavior;
3.) If you don't hear from elderly friends for several days stop by and check on them;
4.) Be alert of salesmen at elderly friends' homes. If elderly friends tell you about someone
     inappropriately spending their money, report it to the police; and
5.) Notice if elderly friends' homes are unusually unkempt or filthy; notice if they begin to look
     malnourished; or if they are not receiving proper medication. If necessary, notify the proper authority.

If elder abuse is suspected, contact the police.

Convalescent Home Crimes
With an increase of elderly community members, due to the baby boomers and a longer lifespan, there will be a greater need for long-term care. This will include a need for convalescent homes, at-home care and adult day cares. The following crime prevention tips are provided to assist seniors, their relatives and friends in making sure our elderly community members don't become victims.

Often convalescent home crimes and related quality of life issues go unreported. These crimes and issues usually go unreported because:

1.) Seniors fear retaliation for reporting crimes by their caretakers.
2.) Seniors may think that no one cares about them or what happens to them.
3.) They may think that the crimes committed against them are just a fact of life and there is nothing
     that can be done to change it.
4.) Seniors may be embarrassed to tell their family or friends what has been done to them because of
     what their family or friends might think. Seniors may be ashamed to ask their family or friends for
5.) Convalescent home employees, who become aware or witness crimes in the home, may not report
     these crimes, fearing retaliation from their employer.

Crimes in Convalescent Homes
There are several types of crimes that can occur. These crimes can range from physical abuse, criminal neglect, sexual assault, emotional, psychological abuse or financial abuse. It's hard to believe that such crimes can occur against seniors but these abuses are a harsh reality. It must be pointed out that many seniors are as vulnerable as small children are. The following is a list of possible signs of abuse and neglect.

Physical Abuse
Rough handling or grabbing
Hitting or slapping
Dragging the patient by the arms or hair
The lack of physical activity

Bed sores
Rashes, sores, lice
Untreated medical condition
Over or under medicated

Sexual Assault
Sexual assault is when a senior is forced, manipulated, or coerced into unwanted sexual activity, or the senior lacks the ability to consent to any sexual activity. Family members, staff members of homes or a stranger can initiate sexual assault.
Or sexual battery

Emotional/Psychological Abuse
Verbal threats of punishment
Constant harassment
Threat of withdrawal of services

Financial Abuse
Theft of personal effects
Overcharging for services
Fraudulent billing for non-services

What to Look for in Selecting a Convalescent Home.
1.) When choosing a home, look at the surroundings.
2.) Check the inside and outside of the home for cleanliness and grounds that are well kept. This can
     indicate an overall concern by the caretakers for cleanliness.
3.) When walking inside smell the air. It should smell clean and fresh not musty or have a high chemical
4.) Look at the home's equipment to make sure it is in good working condition and not outdated. This
     could indicate the lack of funds to assist in the care or well being of the patients.
5.) Talk to employees about the condition of the home and their work environment. Happy employees
     indicate a high morale that in-turns create employees that are more concerned about the quality of
     the job they perform.

We have established a "crime prevention minded" attitude. We have also covered several aspects of everyday life where your safety can be improved. Let your intuition be your guide. Be alert, be safe and enjoy life.
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