World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: How to keep your loved one safe

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More than 2,000 reports of abuse against the elderly population were reported in 2020 to the state’s Aging Services Division.

We learned about the common forms of abuse and how to look out for it, as Tuesday is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

People who are older seem to be more vulnerable to become victims of abuse.

North Dakota’s Aging Services Division says it’s not always physical and if you see something, say something.

“Being that person they know they can count on, bringing them in if you can or help them connect to in services or supports to help them stay home longer. We want them to be in their home, but we also want them to be safe,” said Michelle Gayette, the assistant director of the Aging Services Division.

One of the most common forms of abuse for the elderly population is scams.

This year, the Consumer Protection and Antitrust Division has already seen 83 percent of scam victims in the age range of 55 and older.

“Seniors frequently are the victims of imposter scams that include computer technician scams, family emergency scams, romance scams and then government imposter scams. Like pretending to be with the social security administration. All which are, of course, false,” said Parrell D. Grossman, the Director of Consumer Protection and Antitrust Division.

The President of the North Dakota Long Term Care Association says every year staff has to complete training and education courses to know how to address an abusive situation.

“Make sure that people know that there is a reporting requirement so that all staff are aware upon hire and annually at in services that abuse, neglect and exploitation is not tolerated,” explained Shelly Peterson.

The Aging Services Division says there are signs to look for when identifying abuse, like a change in personality or physical appearance to hide injuries.

The Consumer Protection Division says the elderly population typically doesn’t report scams because they are embarrassed, scared or know it’s difficult to get their money back.

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