Vigilance. That word keeps running through my mind. To keep your aging parent--and other vulnerable older adults--safe from neglect and abuse, it takes a united front.
The need for resolve, consistency and cooperation in keeping elders safe struck home with me just days ago. Earlier this month a 29-year-old owner of a Bothell adult family home was arrested for burglarizing 8 banks between January and September. His heists were coined the "Tour de Banks," since he rode a bicycle for his getaways. His proceeds went to paying gambling debts.
Cooperation between police, bank officials and the adult family home employees was key in solving the crime. Little things--like his employees noting they suddenly received their pay in cash, rather than by check, prompted suspicion. So did his cell phone records, which pinpointed his location near the banks in question at the times of the robberies. His bank deposits posed questions, too. As did his withdrawals.
Fortunately, the adult family home residents have been placed elsewhere, and the home shut down. Here is the Seattle Times story:http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2019426251_tourdebanks14m.html
The case is closed, except for the trial, but the question remains: How can we as senior care professionals and as sons and daughters of the frail elderly, keep our elders safe? Senior care professionals are mandated reporters: if we even suspect abuse, abandonment, neglect or financial exploitation, we MUST report it to the DSHS hotline, for those living in assisted living or adult family homes, or to Adult Protective Services, for those living at home.
Adult children are also encouraged to report suspected abuse.
It takes a united effort to keep elders safe.