For some, there is nothing more fulfilling than living a life where they are able to build a significant nest egg that they can use to spoil their grandchildren and live comfortably in their retirement. However, this likely concept allows senior citizens to become the target of elder financial abuse.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines elder financial abuse as “the illegal, unauthorized, or improper use of an elder’s money, benefits, belongings, property, or assets for the benefit of someone other than the older adult.”
How Does Elder Financial Abuse Happen?
As individuals age, they may develop mental impairments, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. And with these issues, someone may find it easier to take advantage and sneakily gain control over the senior’s finances for their own benefit.
However, victims are still susceptible to this financial exploitation even in good health. Since they are usually targeted by those closest to them, it can be easy to overlook. It can come in the form of grown children being controlling and possessive of their parent’s finances. Or caregivers and nursing staff stealing a resident’s checkbooks and credit cards. It can even go as far as getting the victim to unknowingly sign forms that transfer ownership of assets or pressuring the individual to write them into their will.
Combatting Elder Financial Abuse
It is vital to understand the best ways to combat elder financial abuse with all the ways that it can manifest itself.
Here are a few steps an individual can take to reduce the risk of financial exploitation.
Simplifying Finances. Consolidating money and assets will make it easier for an individual to keep track of their accounts to ensure that there is nothing missing or no new ownership changes. Additionally, it is best to ensure that there are only one or two trusted individuals that the financial institutions can contact on behalf of the senior.
Develop a Financial Review Routine. Usually, when elders can no longer closely watch their finances, they get scammed. So, developing a schedule of when to review assets and spending will prevent anyone from making large withdrawals or changes. If it does happen, culprits are caught before getting too far.
Learn the Scams. The key to combating financial exploitation is to remain vigilant. But it is much easier when you know what to look out for. Taking time to study what seniors may face from financial predators is a good start to peace and safety.
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