As a sad truth unfolds in these times, financial abuse of the elderly is a practiced habit. And to make things even worse, it doesn’t always come from strangers, but also from relatives. In fact, a great amount of financial abuse of seniors happens within the families.
There are seniors that suffer from dementia or another illness that requires constant help. In these situations, it usually happens that members of the family that are taking care of the elder also have the power of attorney on their assets.
There’s a 2016 study that shows how seniors of 60 years or older are suffering from annual financial losses that start from $352 million and can reach up to 1.5 billion, only in the New York state.
If you suspect you or an elderly person you care about might be the victim of financial abuse, we gathered some signs that could indicate that.
- A family member is living with the elderly parent – if a sibling is living with an elderly parent that needs constant care, it could be very easy to take advantage of the situation and spend the parent’s finances for personal interests;
- The family member is secretive about financial matters- if one family member who had access to the seniors’ accounts starts moving money to different accounts or changes passwords, it’s a sign something fishy is happening;
- The family member insists on being present when others are visiting- this definitely is a sign of financial abuse. Controlling and overbearing behavior on the elder parent/grandparent communicating with other people is only showing signs of mistrust and threat;
- The senior doesn’t know their financial situation anymore – if the senior doesn’t suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s, there’s no reason why he/she shouldn’t know the status of his/her finances.
- Withdrawals from bank accounts- there’s a lot of financial exploitation that is happening from family members. If you spot irregularities or big amounts of money withdrawn from the elder’s bank accounts, there is definitely a sign of financial abuse.
- Unpaid bills – if an elderly person assigned a family member to take care of paying the bills, and there are lots of them that remained unpaid, that should be a huge question mark.
There are things that can be done in these situations when they occur. Whether speaking to another family member or calling the police, it’s important to take action and identify the abuser.
Gathering as much evidence as possible and reporting to the authorities might help to freeze the accounts of the abuser and regain back some lost finances.
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