MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Agencies from across the Mid-South gathered Tuesday at Lindenwood Christian Church for a World Elder Abuse Awareness Day forum.
Organizers of the event used the platform to emphasize how important it is for seniors to watch for people taking advantage of them.
Carole Foley of the Shelby County Crime Victims Center said un-entitled people often put their hands out when it comes to seniors.
"Financial exploitation. That's what most of my cases are," she said.
Foley said strangers calling, sending mail or e-mail are not the main culprits of senior abuse Rather, abusers are often people victims know.
District Attorney William Bright said seniors must plan for the unexpected.
"Where you are not dead, but you cannot make decisions for yourself," he said.
Bright said seniors should have an attorney draw up a Power of Attorney Letter, with guidelines how their money can be spent. They should also check credit reports regularly, he said, and be slow to add people to their bank accounts.
"You're pretty much giving them a license to do anything they want with your money without restrictions," he said.
The organizers of Tuesday's event said seniors must watch for people trying to take advantage of them, and if they can't, it's up to the people close to them.
"Learn more about financial abuse, mental abuse, and physical abuse, and then you can be on guard and alert," event organizer Donna Downen said.
Only one out of 14 elder abuse cases are actually reported. For more information on senior resources, call the Tennessee Vulnerable Adult Coalition at (901) 320-7220.