The Watchdog: How much do you know about protecting seniors?

Think about Grandma or Grandpa. Or your elderly dad or mom. Or maybe even you, getting older. Do you know the rights of older Texans? Do you know ways to protect them?

Let’s take The Watchdog’s Elder Care Knowledge Quiz.

The late Jack Cook of Southlake, TX.

The late Jack Cook of Southlake, TX. Dave’s favorite senior.

1. When a senior has a problem, a quick and reliable way to find professionals who can provide help is to:

a) dial the Texas 211 help line, which helps Texans connect with services they need.

b) check for pros on


c) stand on a street corner with a sign.

2. State agencies that help seniors include all of these except:

a) Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services.

b) Texas Adult Protective Services.

c) Texas attorney general.

d) Texas Department of Scam Protection.

3. The Department of Aging and Disability Services is responsible for catching violations of state and federal laws in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and home health care agencies.

True or false?

4. Which of these is a violation in a nursing home?

a) a resident not kept dressed, well groomed and clean at all times

b) treatments or care given in public, not private

c) treating a resident with disrespect

d) all of these

5. Which of these acts is considered abuse of an older person?

a) placing them in seclusion

b) humiliating and embarrassing them

c) using disparaging or derogatory terms

d) all of these

6. A door-to-door salesman comes to your door to sell a product. What is the chance that he’s telling the truth when he offers a great product for a low price that easily can’t be beat elsewhere?

a) He’s telling the truth.

b) He’s telling a lie as big as the hole in his conscience.

7. Seniors are favorite targets for scammers. Which of these are not vulnerabilities to be on the lookout for?

a) someone who wants to pave a homeowner’s driveway

b) garage door repair companies that don’t have a physical address in the area

c) financial advisers who guarantee double-digit rates of return

d) sellers of Girl Scout cookies

8. When an older adult has been scammed, the correct response is:

a) overcome initial embarrassment.

b) call the police.

c) tell relatives.

d) all of these.

9. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services does not take complaints about seniors who have been:

a) abused.

b) neglected.

c) financially exploited.

d) overcharged on electricity bills.

10. One easy way a senior can save money is to assume that most car repair diagnoses that are high-dollar recommendations deserve a second opinion elsewhere.

True or false?

11. Someone who calls and says he is from Microsoft and wants to fix a virus in your computer is:

a) correct, so give him your credit card.

b) a lying thief because Microsoft never makes calls such as this.

12. A grandchild calls on the phone and says he is in a foreign country and needs money wired immediately to him but he doesn’t want his parents to know. The correct action is to:

a) wire the money immediately because grandkids are the best.

b) call the parents and check on their child’s whereabouts.

c) make travel reservations to that foreign country.

13. A relative who gains access to an older person’s checkbook without his or her permission and spends money is:

a) a relative who will probably pay it back if someone finds out.

b) breaking the law, and the police could be called and charges filed.

14. It’s smart to be suspicious of investment opportunities offered by family members, friends and friends of friends no matter how good they sound.

True or false?

15. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott states on his website that investing in annuities “may be inappropriate for seniors because of the lengthy horizon before they begin to pay off. Sale of annuities to seniors may be unethical.”

True or false?

16. If a family member makes an official complaint about a nursing home and nursing home administrators retaliate against the resident or the family, the family should:

a) file a complaint with state regulators because that’s a violation of law.

b) accept things as they are and keep quiet.

17. When unexpected phone calls arrive from salespeople, the best defense is:

a) tape the call.

b) hang up.

c) talk to them as long as possible to learn who they are.

d) pretend you’re nuts.

18. The way to cancel a door-to-door sale is to:

a) make a phone call within 30 days of the sale to say you have changed your mind.

b) write “notice of cancellation” on a receipt and mail it back to the seller within three days (and keep a copy).

19. A senior facing a problem involving federal benefits such as Social Security or Medicare should get help by:

a) creating a petition on

b) making a funny YouTube video.

c) contacting his or her Congress member’s constituent services office.

20. When going to a seminar about a financial investment, it’s smart to make a decision going in that no matter what happens, an on-the-spot purchase won’t be made that day.

True or false?

Answers: 1-a; 2-d; 3-True; 4-d; 5-d; 6-b; 7-d; 8-d; 9-d; 10-True; 11-b; 12-b; 13-b; 14-True; 15-True; 16-a; 17-b; 18-b; 19-c; 20-True.

If you scored higher than 75 percent (15 of 20 correct) you know your stuff. Spread the word.

Staff writer Marina Trahan Martinez contributed to this report.

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