As people age and enter their golden years, they are often vulnerable to different types of abuse; however, one issue, known as elder financial exploitation, is often overlooked. The National Adult Protective Services Association notes that there are several different types of financial exploitation and that those who seek to abuse an elderly person in this manner may use threats, coercion or fraudulent techniques to gain senior’s assets.
If you suspect a caregiver, family member or business of elder financial exploitation, there are a few signs you can watch for.
Sudden unpaid bills
If your elderly loved one’s caregiver handles his or her bills and you realize payments are late or not made at all, this is probably a red flag that the caregiver is funneling assets elsewhere. Discuss the issue with the caregiver first to discover if there was an accidental oversight but if you suspect he or she is stealing funds, it is wise to take action right away to protect your loved one.
While cash and bank accounts are often mishandled by those who seek to exploit their elderly charges, coaxing them into making changes to their wills or estates is another way that they might try to gain assets. This tends to happen most often with elderly individuals who are in a state of mental decline and might be easily coerced into changing these documents. Hiring a legal representative to safeguard wills and living trusts can protect your elderly loved one’s heirs.
Phone and internet scams may also target the elderly. Choosing one or more responsible family members to monitor your loved one’s finances daily can help prevent wrongdoing.