May is Older Americans Month. Established in 1963, Older Americans Month is meant to raise awareness about stereotypes of older adults and the issues they face. To learn more about Older Americans Month, visit the Older Americans Month webpage
In honor of Older Americans Month, challenge ageist stereotypes of growing older by celebrating the age, wisdom and experience of older friends, neighbors and family members. Look out for vulnerable older people and talk to them about financial wellness. Financial abuse awareness is critical for older adults who are targeted by scammers specifically because of their age. In Sacramento County and all over the United States, older adults fall victim to financial abuse or scams.
Financial abuse can include someone stealing money or credit cards. It can also occur when an older adult is forced to sign a document related to finances or property. If you or someone you know has experienced elder financial abuse, contact law enforcement and Sacramento County Adult Protective Services. Any member of the public, including an older or dependent adult seeking help, or family members and friends, can make a report to Sacramento County’s Adult Protective Services (APS) at (916) 874-9377. When crimes do occur, Sacramento County’s District Attorney works closely with victim advocates to provide confidential support and assistance.
“Our victim advocates provide crisis counseling, assistance with emergency protective orders, advocacy and support through the court process, assistance in applying for victim compensation, and referrals to community programs and resources. Our office is also very active in educating seniors and the general public about the types of elder and dependent adult abuse, how to recognize signs of abuse, how to prevent it from happening, and how to report it when it does occur,” said Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Dawn Bladet.
If you are unsure of a situation involving an elder or dependent adult, but have a feeling something might be wrong, APS workers can investigate and help them figure out the best way to respond. According to Sacramento County’s Deputy Director for Senior and Adult Services Melissa Jacobs, 25% of the allegations reported to APS in the last 12 months were related to financial abuse/exploitation.
“Sacramento County Senior & Adult Services is continuing to strengthen our partnership with the local Agency on Aging/Area 4 and other partners to provide additional resources and supports for our community of older adults,” said Jacobs.
The older adults in your life likely spent many years working hard, caring for others and contributing to their community. This Older Americans Month, take the time to say thank you and celebrate aging. It is a time for friends and family to reach out to the older people in our lives to let them know how much we love and appreciate them. This Older Americans Month, take the time to visit, chat, share helpful information and resources, and celebrate with the older adults in your life.