Elder Financial Abuse

All elders, not just those in nursing homes, are susceptible to a special kind of abuse that may not leave physical injuries but can ruin lives all the same: financial abuse. All the same threats younger adults face from identity theft, internet hoaxes, predatory loans, and fraud exist for elders whom criminals too often find easy targets, easy to con, easy to bully.

Why Elders Are Vulnerable To Financial Abuse:

A number of factors make elders more vulnerable to financial abuse. Social isolation is one of the leading causes. Social isolation allows financial elder abuse for two reasons. First, social isolated elders are more likely to kindly and unknowingly interact with an individual who may have ulterior motives. Second, elders without other people to speak with can be made afraid of the abuser and keep quiet about the financial abuse out of fear of physical violence or from embarrassment.

Undue influence is most often accomplished by the abuser by isolating the financially abuse elder from friends and family members, by monitoring the elder’s phone calls and mail, threatening them with bodily harm, and/or by overdosing or underdosing the elder to make him or her dependent or impair their judgment.

How To Reduce Chances Of Elder Financial Abuse

Frequently checking in with your elderly loved one is important, whether they are living on their own or in facilitated care. Being a signatory on your parent’s bank accounts allows you to watch for suspicious red flags, including other people being added to the account. Most states also have Elder Financial Abuse laws requiring banks to report suspicious banking activities to government agencies. Even more important is to obtain a Durable Power of Attorney.

Some red flags of financial abuse of an elder include:

  • Elder frequently makes ATM withdrawals or uncharacteristic purchases
  • Elder quits spending money on personal care
  • Elder has unusual medical charges or nursing home charges
  • Elder gives gifts to a person the elder has only recently met
  • Elder changes her/his lawyer or bank
  • Elder changes who has power of attorney
  • Elder refuses or resists talking about purchases

Basic Safety Measures For Elders To Prevent Financial Abuse

Some simple basics provided by the Council on Aging  can help prevent the most common scams and other financial abuses.

If your loved one is in a nursing home, the Council on Aging  recommends keeping blank checks in a secure location and signing the back of a check unless the elder is in the bank ready to deposit or cash it. They also recommend directly depositing social security checks.

Working With A Financial Abuse Lawyer

A financial abuse lawyer can help recover losses caused by elder financial abuse and work with state agencies to punish criminals. Have no doubts: Elder financial abuse is a crime. Should you have a loved one who has experienced the adverse effects of elder financial abuse, contact our attorneys as soon as possible. Call our law offices at 404 354-2363 to speak with one of our elder financial abuse attorneys.

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