Would You Recognize the Warning Signs of Elder Abuse?
It’s AEP, and for Medicare agents that means home visits, putting you in a unique position to identify and report elder abuse. How do you know, though, if something is suspicious? If you suspect abuse, who can you tell?
At NCC, we want to help you be the best Medicare agent you can be, and that includes supporting you in being a steward of the community. With that in mind, we’ve put together some facts and resources to help you understand the realities of elder abuse, how you can help, and what your responsibilities are when you suspect one of your clients is being abused.
What Medicare Agents Need to Know About Elder Abuse
Please read the information below, familiarize yourself with the warning signs of elder abuse, and be prepared to report any abuse you suspect.
- You may already be a mandated reporter.
In some states, Tennessee for example, everyone is a mandated reporter. In others, your position as a service provider to the older population may require you to report any suspicions of abuse. Review the elder law statutes in your state to make sure you know your responsibilities under the law.
- Elder abuse may be more prevalent than you realize.
The Department of Justice reports that 10% of over-65 adults will be abused, and only 1 in 10 cases of abuse will be reported. A study at Cornell University in 2011 put that number closer to 1 in 24.
- It’s not always obvious when an older person is being abused.
You may think that the signs of elder abuse only include obvious indications like bruises and scars, but those signs can also include depression, lack of hygiene, or agitation. Review this list of the signs of elder abuse and keep these indicators in mind when interacting with clients this AEP.
Additional Elder Abuse Awareness and Prevention Resources
- List of State Elder Abuse Hotlines
- Elder Abuse: Spotting the Signs and Getting Help
- Guide to Recognizing Elder Abuse and Knowing Your Rights
- Elder Abuse Facts – National Council on Aging
- The Department of Justice Elder Justice Initiative
- Guide for Preventing Elder Abuse, Assault, and Theft
- Elder Abuse and Neglect (Discusses Risk Factors and Prevention)
- Statistics and Data – National Center on Elder Abuse
Pay attention during Medicare home visits this AEP. If you see something suspicious, report it. Your help could mean the world to someone who is being abused.