MN S.A.F.E. is launched

June 24, 2013

Minnesota S.A.F.E. is designed to prevent elder abuse

Instances of elder abuse are growing and sadly it's often family members or trusted caregivers inflicting the abuse. Being vigilant and learning all that you can about this growing problem is the best way to protect your elderly loved one.

The elderly are especially vulnerable to financial exploitation, which includes the unauthorized use of the person's funds or property, either by a caregiver or an outside person or scam artist, etc. An unscrupulus caregiver might misuse an elder's personal checks, credit cards or accounts; steal cash, income checks, or household goods; forge the elder's signature or engage in identity theft. Scams perpetrated upon the elderly include phone solicitations from supposed charities, announcements of a prize that requires money be sent in, and investment fraud. Instances of individuals claiming to be a grandchild in need of cash have also been in the news recently.

At first, elder abuse may not be recognized. The signs may appear to be indications of dementia or signs of the elderly person's frailty - or caregivers may explain away the symptoms. In fact, many of the symptoms of elder abuse overlap with symptoms of mental deterioration, but that doesn't mean they should be dismissed.

Any suspected forms of elder abuse should be reported to local authorities immediately.

The state has launched Minnesota S.A.F.EElders. It's an effort to combine awareness and resources surrounding elder abuse. The website for the initiative provides links to important tools and resources. I encourage anyone with an elderly loved one to visit the site: www.safemn.org

by Julie Strong, LSW
MVHC  Director of Social Services

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