Financial abuse of the elderly does not get the same attention as physical abuse, but yet it is a serious concern.
Nothing is more heartbreaking than a child, financial advisor or caregiver taking advantage of an elderly person by manipulating the finances or through theft.
Why abuse occurs
Financial elder abuse occurs when an individual chooses money and possessions over the well-being, trust and relationship of the aging person. While it is common for family members to be leading perpetrators, financial abuse occurs when elderly individuals are deliberately sought out for scams or fraudulent activities because of their charitable conscience and trusting natures. Family members often fear losing what they feel belongs to them or need the funds to support the addictions of a lifestyle. There could also be a problem with fighting amongst the family members, leading to one manipulating the elder to move the finances in their favor.
How to stop financial abuse
Knowing the vulnerability of your loved one is one way to prevent financial abuse. Put a plan in place that establishes a financial power of attorney and moves money and assets into a trust. Continually monitor the financial accounts and look for suspicious or unusual activity. Stay aware of scams and other activities that target the elderly, putting strategies in place as necessary against them.
Elder abuse is a reportable incident and legal action is an option for those responsible for the abuse. Report abuse to Adult Protective Services, law enforcement or an ombudsman should your loved one be in a nursing home.