To the editor:
(re: “Slippery cyber scammers plague unsuspecting seniors,” Jan. 10)
It was heartbreaking to read how a Riverdale resident was victimized by financial predators.
Elder financial exploitation is the most prevalent form of elder abuse with $110 million being stolen from New York State residents annually, and billions stolen nationally. And this form of elder abuse goes well beyond monetary loss, often resulting in deep emotional scars and increased morbidity.
The Weinberg Center for Elder Justice at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale was formed in 2005 to protect older adults victimized by elder abuse. Its multi-disciplinary team brings together expertise in law, social services and public health to advance the elder justice movement and combat elder abuse.
Since opening its doors, the Weinberg Center has provided more than 132,000 days of emergency shelter to older adults who have experienced abuse.
Its reach has expanded nationally with more than a dozen shelters replicating the Hebrew Home model from coast to coast.
Nearly 20 percent of the Riverdale population is older than 65. I encourage your readers to check in on older neighbors on a regular basis. With the cold weather upon us, they can easily become isolated, which increases the potential for elder abuse.
Elder abuse takes many forms, including neglect, and physical, sexual and emotional abuse. When visiting an older relative or friend, look for the following signs that could indicate abuse:
• Poor hygiene
• Bruises, cuts or burns
• Soiled clothes
• Weight loss
If an older adult seems uneasy, unkempt or nervous, talk with them, take a closer look, and contact law enforcement, if necessary.
We have a responsibility to the older adults in our lives.
The author is president and chief executive of RiverSpring Health, which includes the Hebrew Home at Riverdale.