Elderly individuals are often vulnerable in a variety of ways – mentally, emotionally, and physically. This makes them prime targets for financial abuse, and unfortunately, this silent crime often goes unnoticed and unreported, leaving victims without the resources they need later in life. In this article, we will delve into the complexities of elder financial abuse and provide practical steps for preventing and recovering from such exploitation.
Financial abuse is a form of mistreatment involves taking advantage of older individuals and benefiting from their monetary resources in an unfair or criminal manner. Abusers may gain unauthorized access to someone’s financial information, making it very challenging to uncover evidence. This abuse can occur in both domestic and institutional settings, with family members, business associates, caregivers, trusted advisors, or strangers being the perpetrators.
Financial exploitation of the elderly can take many forms. Here are 10 of the most common:
Poor physical health, cognitive impairment, difficulty in performing daily activities, and social isolation are high-risk factors for elder financial abuse. Paying attention to these warning signs and providing support is crucial to ensuring the financial well-being of the elderly.
Careful planning and precautions are crucial in preventing elder financial abuse, but the biggest protection you can provide is remaining actively involved and aware of new developments in the elderly person’s life and finances. You can also help by encouraging them to:
Finally, educate your elderly loved one about scam prevention and the warning signs of common scams as they evolve over time.
Recognizing signs of financial abuse is crucial. Sudden lifestyle changes, opposition to necessary care, unexplained emotional withdrawal, reluctance to discuss financial matters, and strange or controlling behavior by new caregivers are major red flags. Other signs to look out for include:
If you have identified warning signs of financial abuse, approach the conversation with patience and empathy. Encourage your loved one to immediately secure all bank accounts and cards, file a fraud alert with credit bureaus, and report the incidents to the relevant authorities.
Additionally, if the elderly person has lost money in investments or retirement accounts to fraud, scams, or another form of financial abuse, contact an investment fraud attorney who can work on their behalf to attempt to recover their lost funds.
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