Sadly, people continue to abuse the elderly financially. Whether they become victims of scams or are preyed on by family members looking for money. Being that many seniors prefer to remain in control of their finances throughout life makes it more challenging to help protect them in these situations.
Financial Abuse is any behavior that causes harm through the illegal or improper use of funds, property, or assets that do not belong to you. Such examples may include coercing a change in a will, bank account or property transfer, taking cash or using credit cards without permission or knowledge of the owner. This abuse causes serious problems as it can result in loss of independence, their home, life savings, health, and dignity.
The following are some issues that can increase an older person’s risk of being victimized: Loneliness · Recent loss of their spouse · Isolation · Physical or mental disabilities and Lack of knowledge regarding their financial situation.
Some signs of financial abuse:
- Unpaid bills – despite adequate income
- Transferring assets to “new friends”
- Checks written to cash
- Large withdrawals of cash
- Unexplained changes to wills or other legal documents
- The disappearance of valuable assets
Unfortunately, many seniors become an easy target as they age, and their faculties decline. When we have the elderly in our lives, we must watch for signs of financial abuse, or any other harm that may happen in their life. If you are a witness or suspect to an abusive situation involving a senior, you can contact the National Adult Protective Service and find your local chapter to submit a report and get help. Let’s all keep in mind, protection of any vulnerable human being is everyone’s responsibility.