Having been in the law enforcement profession for 31 years I have seen victims and suspects from every walk of life. I have arrested numerous people and been involved in situations that even I have forgotten. I have seen the poorest of the poor and richest of the rich. I have had the opportunity to even walk through closets of major celebrities when they were involved in an incident. The one thing I learned is that apparently everyone needs 200 pair of Air Jordon’s.
While I have been exposed to many various aspects of life, I have come to realize that everyone can be a victim. The world is full of evil and people looking for an opportunity to hurt others. Sometimes this is physically, but many times it is emotionally and/or financially.
Over the past 17 years of working with families dealing with various forms of Dementia, I have come to a major revelation. What better victim than one who cannot remember. Crimes against the elderly have grown exponentially over the past decade. Our elder population is growing exponentially and the huge wave of baby boomers are all throughout society. Studies show that at the age of 65 there is almost a 10 percent chance of developing a form of Dementia. The numbers increase to 50 percent after the age of 85. While our elderly population continues to be the target of many scam artists, consider what I stated earlier. What better victim than someone who cannot remember. Individuals suffering from Dementia many times lose the ability to form new memories. They are able to remember things from many years ago, but the newest event and experiences are fleeting and not embedded in their memory. Even the memory of breakfast vanishes leading to person to complain that their family is not feeding them.
With issues like this, the bull’s eye is on their backs. Funds can be taken and accounts drained. Jewelry can just disappear along with medications. The prescription bottle that was full yesterday is now empty. This is why caregivers and families dealing with dementia need A Better Understanding. This is why Corporations and Financial Institutions also need A Better Understanding. When accounts start being drained and the same people are coming to the bank every day to withdraw large amounts of money, it is not being nosy to dig a little deeper. I feel that it is owed to the customer. Grandpa may not remember that they had just withdrawn the money yesterday, and he is there again to withdraw it for the first time. What about the nice neighbor or the helpful friend who decides to run errands or run to the bank only to cash a check that was made out to them. When confronted, they can show where Grandma signed the check, but does Grandma even remember signing it? When Grandma is asked about it, she says that she must have signed it because that is indeed her signature. Situations such as this are very common things that officers give advice on continuously. Of course all officers give good advice. People see the uniform and think behind that uniform is every answer to every question. Many times, we are giving the best information we can.
I would encourage Financial Institutions to learn more about Dementia. Our Tellers see it every day but many times it goes unrecognized. There are no telltale signs or visual cues for Dementia. Bank employees need to realize that the robbery that occurs is not always with a gun and a mask. Often, it is as subtle as coming in an cashing a check. But when it happens daily, it should signal the teller that something is possibly not right and they should possibly dig a little deeper. Contact someone else on the account. One thing I have heard for years in my profession is that “The police only have to get lucky once to catch the criminal, but the criminal has to get lucky every time. Let’s make their luck run out.
While Police Officers have been raked over the coals recently, I would like to stress that what you see on the news is not indicative of every officer out there. Every profession has people who got into that profession for the wrong reason. I have seen CNA’s and Nurses arrested for stealing from the elderly. And some of them admitted that it was there sole reason for getting into that profession. I have seen public safety officers arrested for befriending someone with Dementia and taking it upon themselves to run errands for them. When they picked up the prescriptions, about half of the pills would make it home. While the negative things are what we hear on the news and social media, I hope everyone would recognize that the GOOD does far out way the BAD. It is just realizing that the GOOD is there. I would encourage everyone gain A Better Understanding of how to protect some of our most vulnerable citizens. In 1989 I took an oath when I became a police officer. Part of that oath was to “protect the innocent from deception”. Please take it upon yourself to learn more about our elder population and help find ways to better protect them.