Making The Complex

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Protecting against financial elder abuse

When most Louisiana residents consider the needs of their aging loved ones, the conversation usually turns to medical issues and overall well-being. People spend a great deal of time and effort trying to find the right nursing home setting for their aging parents or grandparents. They may also put significant effort into getting the best possible medical care. What is often overlooked is the risk of elder financial abuse.

According to a study by MetLife, elderly American citizens lose nearly $3 billion each year due to exploitation. These crimes are often under-reported, so the actual numbers may be even higher. Very often, older people are taken advantage of by individuals they know and trust.

Signs of financial abuse include sudden, unexplained changes in how a loved one manages his or her money. There may be bills left unpaid, frequent large withdrawals from accounts, or attempts to wire or otherwise transfer money. Another sign of potential abuse is when an older loved one begins making financial choices with little regard to penalties or other ramifications. It is important to take the time to look for these and other symptoms of financial abuse, and to question financial actions that seem to fall outside of the norm. 

In such cases, it may be necessary to create a guardianship role to look after a loved one who has been subjected to financial abuse. This requires working with a skilled elder law attorney to create the proper framework. At the end of the day, caring for aging loved ones is both an obligation and an honor, and is something that Louisiana residents take very seriously.

Source:, “Help us keep vulnerable adults safe from financial exploitation“, Oct. 25, 2017


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