The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office’s Elder Crimes Unit investigates crimes of abuse, neglect, exploitation and other related incidents involving seniors and vulnerable adults. The unit works in conjunction with the Department of Children and Families Adult Protective Services and the Office of the State Attorney to ensure criminal prosecution of these crimes. The unit also provides seniors and their caregivers with a multitude of resources to help them in their daily life. The Elder Crimes Unit offers and maintains the following programs:
Citizens at Risk Bracelets- These bracelets are provided to those who are prone to wandering. The unique number on the bracelet allows first responders to quickly identify the person.
Lockbox- Provides first responders the ability to access house keys to get into the home of a vulnerable person in the event of an emergency.
MyMedID – This worksheet is given in conjunction to lockboxes and provides first responders a list of current medications, emergency contacts, doctor information, allergies, etc. The worksheet is left with the homeowner who is encouraged to place it on the refrigerator so first responders can quickly located it.
RUOK – The Sheriff’s Office will call the vulnerable adult each morning at 7 a.m. to check on their well-being. If an answer is not received, a deputy will be dispatched to check on the person.
The Elder Crimes Unit works with the Emergency Operations Center by identifying elderly citizens and vulnerable adults with special needs during natural disasters.
Caregiver Abuse and Self-Neglect
Have you noticed changes in the appearance of your loved one such as sudden weight loss, unexplained scratches or bruises, or have they seemed withdrawn lately when you visit? If you suspect your loved one is being abused, neglected, or exploited either by a caregiver or by staff at the facility where they live, contact your local law enforcement agency immediately.
Here are some commonly reported types of abuse
Does your loved one live independently and have they started forgetting to take their prescribed medications? Are they having difficulty managing their finances? Have their grooming habits changed (appear disheveled and unclean)? Here are some signs of self-neglect and other safety concerns
The older we get, the more vulnerable we become to fraudsters. These criminals prey on issues that come with age, from hearing loss to loneliness and tailor special scams with seniors in mind. Too often, the elderly fall victim to these criminals. Below are the top fraud/scams the elderly are subjected to.
FBI’s Top Scams Involving the Elderly
Medicare/health insurance fraud
Counterfeit prescription drugs
Funeral and cemetery scams
Fraudulent anti-aging products
Homeowner/reverse mortgage scams
Sweepstakes and lottery scams
The Grandparent Scam
Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
Are you concerned that your loved one may have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease? If so, check out the ten warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease
from the Alzheimer’s Association.
Once a person has been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, caregivers need to know how they can make the person’s environment a comfortable and safe place for them. Here are some
general safety concerns on how to make their home - or your home if they reside with you - as familiar and safe as possible when caring for the person.
Dementia or Alzheimer’s can affect the afflicted person’s behavior. The Alzheimer’s Association’s how to respond when dementia causes unpredictable behavior can help guide you to react appropriately. Persons with dementia and Alzheimer’s can be prone to “wandering” – or leaving their homes unexpectedly. Wandering can be a frightening situation for both the person and their caregiver. The Alzheimer’s Association has information about wandering and getting lost
and suggests ways to prevent wandering.
Have you noticed that your loved one seems to be having difficulty driving lately? Perhaps they have received a couple traffic citations or have been involved in a few minor fender-benders in the last several months? Do they seem increasingly confused or even scared when driving? If you’ve noticed a significant decline in your loved one’s ability to operate a vehicle safely, the American Automobile Association (AAA) has suggestions to initiate conversations about driving
with your loved one.
If you are still uncomfortable about your loved one’s ability to drive safely, you can request a medical review
through the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) and mail it to the address listed on the form. You can read through DHSMV’s Medical Conditions and Driver Safety Brochure
for more information about medical reviews. Additionally, per Florida State Statute 322.18(2)(a-b)
, drivers over the age of 80 are required to have their driver’s licenses renewed every six years, instead of every eight years.
If you have concerns that your loved one has been abused or if you question their ability to care for themselves, or believe that they have been a victim of a fraud or a scam, please contact your local law enforcement agency and the Department of Children and Families Adult Protective Services (1-800-962-2873). Remember, if you see a life-threatening situation, always call 911 first.
Federal Bureau of Investigation
National Adult Protective Services Association
Seminole County Triad
For more information, contact the Elder Crimes Unit at 407-665-6644.