This article will discuss the importance of how to prevent financial elder abuse. It’s a sad situation that there are some people who see vulnerable elderly citizens as a target for fraud in order to extort money. Financial elder abuse can take many forms and is a problem that children and caregivers need to look out for. Seniors who are more easily confused because of diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia can find themselves giving away money to bogus causes or even allowing people they hardly know into their homes with the intent of scamming them.
In its simplest form financial elder abuse can be something like a family member or neighbor stealing small amounts of money from someone’s purse or wallet. It can involve convincing someone to sign a deed or power of attorney or even getting work done on a house that doesn’t need to be done.
There are telemarketers, both in the US and from abroad, who regularly target seniors because they know they have a greater chance of scamming them. There are other phone scammers who are experts in getting vulnerable seniors to reveal their bank details. There have even been cases of lonely seniors joining internet dating web sites and being financially scammed that way.
The kinds of people who commit these crimes also vary as much as the crimes themselves. They could be family members who have financial problems or have succumbed to substance abuse or have gambling addictions. It could be siblings who simply feel they are entitled to their parent’s money or are worried that it may be used up for their long term care needs and nothing left for them to inherit. Then there are truly predatory individuals who make a living out of specifically targeting vulnerable people, actively seeking them out in neighborhoods, as well as unscrupulous business operations that overcharge or use their position of trust to get leverage with an individual.
What are the Warning Signs of Elder Abuse?
It sounds like the world is out to get your parent’s money and the last thing you need is to constantly worry and be concerned about them. But financial elder abuse does occur and you need to be aware of it, particularly as mom and dad reach that vulnerable stage in their lives. The signs to look out for are things out of the ordinary such as odd withdrawals from bank accounts, new best friends who suddenly appear on the scene, missing property and, in the extreme, unpaid bills and eviction notices. It pays to be vigilant and have regular contact with your parents. This is important to make sure that they remain safe.
Choosing the right Caregiver is just as important. For instance, private Caregivers don’t come with the same protections that home care agency have. A home care agency like All Heart Home Care will make sure that certain safeguards are in place. When shopping for a home care agency, verify that they will conduct background checks, reference checks, and conduct regular supervisor visits. Home care agencies also carry professional liability insurance and bonding to protect your parents from fraud if it were to ever happen by one of their Caregivers. When you do come to employ a private Caregiver, make sure you do your homework and check their background and references carefully.
Financial elder abuse is probably one of the most upsetting crimes you can come across particularly when it involves your mom or dad. While most people are law abiding and treat the elderly community with respect, there are unfortunately a few that have their own selfish needs at heart and see seniors as fair game. It pays to keep out a watchful eye and stay in regular contact, putting in the right safeguards that can help protect your loved one in their home.
To make a report of elder abuse, please call Adult Protective Services (APS) at 800-510-2020 (within San Diego County) or 800-339-4661 (outside the County).
We hope you found this article on how to prevent financial elder abuse informative. If you would like to discuss options for home care services for a loved one, contact All Heart Home Care at 619-736-4677. We would love to come to your home and discuss the many home care options available!