Senior Scams –

Seniors Scams you need to be aware of

15 Scams Targeting Seniors – #5 Makes Our Blood Boil

Every day new senior scams come around, but there are still some of the old ones running around out there as well.

How have some of these scams lasted so long?

Because people fall for them and most of the time, the people that fall for the scams are seniors. People prey on seniors because they think they don’t have all of their faculties anymore and sometimes they are 100% correct.

We decided to have a refresher course on scams that have been around a while and go over some of the newer ones to hopefully keep your identity and your money safe.

1. IRS Scam

One of the oldest scams in the world is the IRS calling or emailing you and saying you owe money and if you don’t pay right now, you will go to jail.

DON’T give your information!

DON’T give your date of birth, address, bank name, account number, or ANYTHING!

Most of the time these people don’t even know your name, so don’t give that either. Tax season is the worst time for these scams. The scammer will call posing as an IRS agent saying there is something wrong with your return and more information is needed. Once you give them the information, they will use it to steal your identity and file false tax returns. Then you’re in a whirl of a mess!

2. Social Security Scam

Social Security is another one they like to use to get your social security number. They will call or email you stating your social security number has been compromised and they need to verify your information. They will also tell you your check came back to them and they need to verify your information. This is how they open new accounts and steal your identity. 

3. Medicare Scam

Callers pretend to be with Medicare and need to verify your Medicare number. Once they have your number, they can steal your health benefits – this is called medical identity theft. They can also go one further and state you need a new Medicare card and they need a credit card for the minimal fee to send it out. BOOM they have your card information as well as your Medicare information.

PLEASE LISTEN!! The IRS and Social Security DO NOT call and ask for sensitive information over the phone!! I cannot stress this enough!! DO NOT give your information to anyone stating to be from the IRS or Social Security!!

4. Internet Companies

Another good one is these internet companies calling, texting, or emailing you saying you owe them money from a past account and you must pay it right now or face serious charges. DO NOT give them any information! Chances are you never had service with that company and they are hoping you can’t remember.

5. Grandparents Scam

Here’s another oldie: the grandparent scam! This is when someone calls you posing to be your grandchild and says they need money for rent or their car died. They may also use the excuse they have to have major surgery and can’t afford it. The con artists are so good; they learn everything possible about you and your family prior to calling you and pulling this scam. If you get a call like this and are skeptical, ask them a question only you and your grandchild could possibly know the answer to; if they don’t know the answer, hang up the phone. 

This person will ask that you do not contact their parents because they don’t want them to know the trouble they are in. Let me advise you that this should be your first clue. If they are in that much financial trouble, chances are their parents already know.

6. Your Info is Sent to Multiple Assisted Living After Filling Out A Form

This is an old one that most people don’t know about: you’re on the internet looking for an assisted living community and BOOM! You are all of a sudden bombarded by emails and phone calls from communities all over the place! What the heck? You have just been redirected to A Place for Mom. 

That’s how they roll, A Place for Mom doesn’t know the ins and outs of the communities they represent. They capture your name and contact information and send it to everyone in their database. All the communities send you their information hoping you will call them and schedule a tour. A Place for Mom has no idea what the appropriate community is for you based on your social, medical, and financial needs.

We at Assisted Living Made Simple would not place you somewhere you can’t afford nor would we place you somewhere you will not thrive. We personally escort you on tours of the communities based on your unique needs.

7. Placement Companies Making You Sign Exclusivity Documents

A new scam coming around concerning placement companies is they are trying to make you sign exclusivity documents. These documents state that you will work with them and only with them; you cannot go to another placement company. Do NOT sign one of these documents!

You are free to work with whomever you’d like; they cannot make you work with them only. Should they present such a document to you, simply tell them no thank you.

8. Purchase On Your Account

You may receive a call or text stating a purchase (these are very vague) has been placed on your account and they need you to authorize it. DON’T DO IT!! Once they have your information, you are done. They may also say you won a prize and must give them your banking info to have the money deposited.

PLEASE don’t give anyone your personal information!!

9. Telemarketers

Telemarketers are great at scamming people, especially seniors. It just seems so easy to scam seniors over the phone. These people sound so sincere. They could call you selling something and you think it’s a great deal, so you buy it. Well, you just gave your credit card information to someone for nothing. But they will get a lot out of it. By the time you realize you’re not getting the item you ordered, they have racked up hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of goods on your credit card.

10. FBI or Sheriff’s Office is Calling

How about the FBI or local Sheriff’s office calling and saying you have a warrant out for your arrest and you risk going to jail if you don’t pay the fine over the phone right then? WHAT? Don’t even think about doing this! First of all, if there was a warrant out for your arrest, the police would come to your house and arrest you and then work it out at the police station, not over the phone. 

11. Insurance Canceled

Scammers like to use the old, your insurance has been canceled unless you pay over the phone right now too. If your insurance, of any kind, were going to be canceled, you would have received a notice in the mail.

12. Debt Relief Scam

The debt relief scam is one that’s become very prevalent, especially since COVID. A scammer calls and says you have so much in credit card debt and says if you don’t pay it you could possibly go to jail. They will give you immediate solutions for your debt problems for a fee of $5000.00, or some ridiculous amount, paid over the phone.

Once again, you give them your credit card or banking information and that’s it, they have everything. They can take your identity and they can purchase anything they want because by the time you figure out you’ve been scammed they’ve spent a lot of your hard-earned money.

13. Sweepstakes Scam

Here’s a good one that seemed so true I almost fell for it! The sweepstakes scam: they make you think you will win big money, but you need to pay a fee to enter the drawing. I really wanted to win the sweepstakes, but was thinking, why would I spend money to win money? That’s when I realized it was a scam. I really hope you all pay attention to this blog, these scammers are so good; anyone can fall prey to their cleverness.

14. Computer Scam

Watch out for computer scammers! They will contact you stating they are with computer tech or your antivirus program and tell you your computer has serious issues or a virus. They will then ask for your data and money to fix the issue. They may also request remote access to your computer, if they gain remote access, they have access to all of the information stored on your computer and you can’t get them off until they log off.

15. Unemployment Benefits

My mother is 94 years old and here is one she just got in the mail the other day. Luckily she gives me her mail to look through. It is from the Unemployment Benefits Guide and it states that it is the Medicare document she requested (she never requested any documents). It goes on to say that they’ve been trying to reach her regarding her benefits options (she’s 94!) and she is to call immediately to enroll and BEGIN receiving her benefits (she’s 94)!

I googled the phone number on the form and it came up as Paradise Hair Studios. I called the number and a recording came on immediately and said, “at this time we don’t have a plan that suits you”. What the heck is that about? 

Now, just think if she had called and they answered and she thought she needed this coverage. They could have asked her for her bank information, credit card information and who knows what else and she very well could have given it to them. But she didn’t, she gave her mail to me to check it out first. 

PLEASE find someone to watch out for you! It’s okay if you don’t understand something or are confused by an email, a piece of mail, a text, or a phone call. These scammers are very, very good at what they do; don’t be ashamed or afraid to ask for help.

If you think an older adult has been a victim of financial abuse, or if you have been a victim,  please call the National Elder Fraud Hotline at 1-833-272-8311 to get assistance.

How to Deal with a Love One Displaying Aggressive Behavior

How to Deal with a loved one with aggressive behavior

Does your loved one with Alzheimer’s display aggressive behavior? Are you finding yourself frustrated dealing with them? Did they used to be so nice and calm prior to their diagnosis?

This is a normal progression of the brain due to the damage that has been caused by the disease. People with Alzheimer’s are often not able to communicate their needs or wants and this can cause them to lash out. The aggressive outbursts can be scary and can range from yelling and screaming to cursing, hitting, kicking and even throwing things. 

So, what do you do when counting to ten just doesn’t work anymore? We’ll take a look at some coping strategies to help you deal with these aggressive behaviors.

Coping Strategies

→ Rule out pain as the source of the behavior. Any kind of pain can trigger aggressive behaviors in a person with Alzheimer’s. Because they can’t communicate what is wrong with them, it causes them to lash out and become angry.

→ Try to figure out what just happened to cause the behavior. Were they trying to do something and couldn’t accomplish it and this caused frustration? Is it starting to get dark and shadows are forming on the walls? They may think the shadows are people moving around in the house and this will cause fear; turn some lights on.

→ Be ready for reality. Remembering that aggressive behaviors are a part of the disease can help you respond in a more productive way. Also, knowing these outbursts can happen at any time will help ease the shock that comes along when they do happen; and remember don’t take it personally, they don’t understand.

→ Confirm their feelings. They could be acting aggressively due to loneliness, frustration, or sadness and just don’t know how to convey their feelings. Reassure them in a calming tone and let them know it’s okay to feel that way.

→ Calm the area around them. Is there loud music playing? Make sure the television is off. Are there other people in the room talking? All of these things can trigger aggressive behavior in a person with Alzheimer’s.

→ Speak calmly and reassuringly. Use a gentle tone when speaking to them. Take a deep breath and again, reassure them it’s okay to feel that way. They will feel YOUR frustration and this will only increase the behavior. Breathe deeply, speak slowly and keep your voice soft and positive.

→ Play their favorite music. Soft music has a calming effect and this can help ease their aggressiveness. If they have a favorite song, play it for them; hum a song, or sing a song they know and try to get them to sing along with you.

→ Leave the room. If nothing seems to work and your loved one is safe. Leave the room for a few minutes and take a breather. This will give both of you some space and when you return they may have forgotten they were angry.

→ Safety first. If nothing is working and you are fearful for yourself or for them, reach out to a friend or neighbor. If that isn’t a possibility, call 911 and explain to the dispatcher that your loved one has Alzheimer’s and is displaying aggressive behavior and you are unable to calm them yourself.

When the first responders arrive, PLEASE tell them again that the person has Alzheimer’s and this is the cause of the behavior. Do NOT let them take them to the police station, ask that they be taken to a hospital instead.

Dealing with someone with Alzheimer’s is not easy and when they display aggressive behavior, it makes it so much harder. Please reach out for help, you do NOT have to go this alone. We at Assisted Living Made Simple hold five (5) Alzheimer’s caregiver support groups a month; please find one that fits your schedule.

The Challenges of Mirrors for Someone with Alzheimer’s

The Challenges of Mirrors for Someone with Alzheimer’s

Did you know that for someone with Alzheimer’s, seeing their reflection in a mirror can cause anxiety, anger, and sometimes even terror?

If your loved one starts acting irrational, look around the room to see if there are any mirrors. If so, remove them and see if their behavior improves. 

Why would mirrors agitate someone with Alzheimer’s you ask?

You have to remember that the Alzheimer’s brain doesn’t work like a normal brain anymore; they no longer recognize the person in that mirror. It frightens them because they think a stranger has suddenly come upon them and is standing right in front of them. This can really confuse them and upset them to where they can become hysterical, thus making it difficult to calm them down.

So, what are you supposed to do? Remove all the mirrors in the house? Well yes, some of them anyway. 

Any mirrors that are not necessary should be removed from the walls and remove any decorative mirrors you may have on counters or shelves. 

Creative Ways To Cover Up The Mirrors

  1. If you can’t remove them from the walls, cover them with a towel or a large piece of cloth. For full-length mirrors, please turn them over so the backside shows and turn them around when you need to look in them. But, remember to turn them back over when you are finished.
  2. If you have mirrors on your closet doors, you can disguise them by adding decorative paper to them. Please make sure to use calming patterns and colors; bright colors will disrupt the person with Alzheimer’s as it’s too busy and noisy for them.
  3. Another thing you can do is install blinds over a mirror to make it look like a window, just make sure they can’t open the blinds. If they do open the blinds and see their reflection, they will think there is a stranger standing there and it will cause them to lash out and it could become an extremely serious situation.
  4. You could put a nature scene poster over the mirror. You can also decorate the mirror with stained glass; not only will it cover the mirror, but it will also be a beautiful addition to the room. Install a curtain rod over mirrors and hang curtains so you can open the curtains when you need to use the mirror. Just remember, close the curtains when you are finished.
  5. And please remove the mirrors from the bathrooms. The mirrors in the bathrooms are probably the ones that are the worst for Alzheimer’s patients. Try putting yourself in their place, they have no idea where they are, who they are, or who you are. They are in the bathroom (a private place) and they see their reflection in the mirror! HELP!!! There’s a stranger here!! You may possibly hear things crashing and breaking because they are trashing the bathroom.

Hopefully, some of the suggestions above can help improve the life and well-being of the Alzheimer’s client. Always remember that they do NOT think like they used to; their brain does NOT function like it used to, it does NOT remember. 

Should you require additional guidance, Assisted Living Made Simple holds five (5) Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Groups a month. PLEASE find one that fits into your schedule!! You are not alone; we will be with you every step of the way!!

How to Approach Someone With Alzheimer’s

How to Approach Someone with Alzheimer's

We’ve all seen items like this in the news where a public servant comes upon an elderly person and doesn’t realize they have dementia or Alzheimer’s and startles the person. This can lead to outrages which make the servant think they are being uncooperative and can lead to serious bodily injury to the elderly person.

There have also been times in restaurants when a spouse orders for the other one and the server gets agitated by this. You have to calmly state, that my spouse (or significant other) has Alzheimer’s and can’t order for him or herself. 

I know it’s sad, but people don’t understand and therefore don’t know how to approach someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s. We’ll look at some ways to, and not to, approach someone with Alzheimer’s or related dementia.

Please remember, the person with Alzheimer’s brain is damaged, so they don’t process information the way they used to. They can’t always remember who you are, so to them, chances are you are a stranger approaching them. Proceed with caution.

5 Tips on approaching someone with Alzheimer’s

  1. Make sure you always approach from the front, never from behind. We can all be startled when someone approaches us from behind, but with a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia, this can cause a flight or fight response and they may lash out at you.
  2. Approach them very slowly. Approaching too quickly can also cause a flight or fight response and this is never good for you or the elder person.
  3. Stand with your hands at your sides. Do not stand with your arms on your hips or crossed in front of you. This may look like you are being confrontational and this will cause them to shut down. Remember, their brain is not functioning like it used to so be patient.
  4. Don’t bend over them when talking or visiting. Pull up a chair or crouch down so you are at eye level or just below. You don’t want them to think you are trying to overpower them.
  5. Once they are comfortable with you and should you decide to go out to lunch or for a walk, offer your hand. Do not reach out and grab their arm or hand; this again will cause the flight or fight response and you will lose any trust you have just earned. 

Hopefully, the tips above will help you when approaching a person with Alzheimer’s or related dementia. Should you feel you need more guidance, we at Assistance Living Made Simple hold five (5) Alzheimer’s caregiver support groups a month; check out the resources tab to find the one closest to you. 

Just please, remember one thing, the person with Alzheimer’s brain does NOT function like it used to; they do NOT remember like they used to; PLEASE be patient! We are here to help you; you do NOT have to go this alone!!