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Elder financial abuse is more common than you think: Be ready

On Behalf of | Jan 20, 2022 | Elder Law

When your mom or dad is in long-term care, it is imperative that you take steps to protect them against financial abuse. Elders are at a particularly high risk of financial abuse because they may not be in a position to check their accounts or have the mental capacity to understand the decisions they make.

When adult children place their loved ones into nursing homes or assisted-living facilities, they need to be aware of the risk of financial abuse. You won’t be there around the clock to prevent your loved one from being taken advantage of, but you do have options to help prevent abuse.

Thousands of elders are financially abused every year

There are many cases of elder financial abuse, or, at the very least, suspicious activities, reported each year. In The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reports that, in 2020, more than 62,000 Suspicious Activity Reports were filed with the government. Those covered a projected loss of around $3.4 billion.

Did you know that around 40% of all caregivers do believe that their loved one has been a victim of financial fraud, according to an Allianz study from 2021? With an average loss of around $60,000 per victim, now is the ideal time to talk about what you can do to prevent this problem.

What are some options to help protect your loved one against financial abuse?

There are several ways that you can monitor your loved one’s finances and help protect them. There are online monitoring services like EverSafe and Carefull, which will send alerts when unusual activity is detected, for example.

Another thing to do is to listen to your loved one. Even though they may be older, if they kept saying something related to their money, then you should listen. Cognitive challenges aside, you should not assume that your parent is being paranoid. If they say they’re missing money or that they think their accounts aren’t right, you should look into that concern and verify for yourself that the accounts are still in good standing and look as they should.

If you do end up seeing financial issues, then it is time to look closer to see if financial abuse could be occurring.