As baby boomers age, they become more vulnerable to elder abuse, which can take many forms. Financial exploitation is one of them.
What you may not know is that, according to statistics, elder abuse is most likely to involve other family members. That reality can be difficult to process, and often families are uncertain of what to do when they suspect that a family member is exploiting a vulnerable loved one.
What should you do if you believe your loved one is being exploited?
In Louisiana, it is mandatory to report elder abuse, including financial exploitation. Reports of elder abuse should be made to Louisiana’s Elderly Protective Services. If you have questions about these matters, talk to an elder law attorney. It’s likely that an investigation will need to take place, so the police may need to talk to your loved one, if he or she is able, to discuss what is happening. Keep in mind that it may be possible to report the abuse and still remain anonymous.
Preserving Evidence of Exploitation
Keep track of all instances of exploitation that you suspect. For example, if your mother had $1,000 in her spending account last week but only has $50 today with no reasoning behind the sudden withdrawals, you may need to look into the account and ask where the money went. If she says she let her grandchild take her debit card to get lunch last week, then you might be able to show that the grandchild took advantage of your mother’s good nature.
Again, an experienced elder law attorney can explain your options and help you protect your loved one’s well-being, finances and dignity.