East Texas officials urge people to protect the elderly from scams and abuse

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Elder abuse comes in various forms.

Two types are the focus of separate prevention campaigns winding down a month of advocacy. Learning about both can be important for people of all ages.

The Adult Protective Services advises you to make it your business to protect yourself or the elderly in your care from financial exploitation.

"They come from a generation that was very trusting, and unfortunately the people who are exploiting them, their scams are much better, and they're outsmarting even the smartest of us," said Becky Eldridge, the board president of Angelina and Nacogdoches County Adult Protective Services.

Embarrassment and shame get in the way of reporting many cases.

"They can't believe they fell victim to that scam or that someone took advantage of them," Eldridge said. "A lot of times they don't want their children to know they gave money or land. "

Sometimes it's the children doing the stealing. The theft can be discovered while making application to government assistance programs.

"It becomes aware of where their finances have been going, who's been utilizing those, have those finances been used for their care or has the family been taking advantage of that," said Julie Wyatt, the administrator of Willowbrook Nursing and Rehab.

Then there's long-term care residents' rights, a national campaign currently underway. This year's theme - speak out against elder abuse.

"Ask questions. Don't be afraid to get involved," Wyatt said. "If it's a neighbor, if it's someone you know from church. Never assume that it's always innocent."

And remember, close to 60,000 Texans living at home were confirmed victims of abuse, neglect, or exploitation last year. In most cases, a member of the victim's family was responsible.

For more information, visit the APS Reporting Guide at this link. For more general Adult Protective Services information, visit this link.

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