Senior citizens have lived long lives and deserve to live comfortably in their final days. Unfortunately, individuals at this age might have some mental, cognitive and physical decline that make them targets for abuse and exploitation. While it should never happen, it is always a possibility.
More than 7,300 reports of elder abuse are taken by the Louisiana Department of Health each year. And, these are only the reported cases. Many others likely go unreported for a variety of reasons. It is estimated that one out of every 44 elder abuse cases involving finances are reported. For the family members of elderly residents of this state, keeping a watchful eye for signs of financial exploitation and abuse is imperative.
Financial abuse isn’t always scammers
While many people think of elder financial abuse as being done at the hands of family members and caregivers, it’s estimated that around 90% of cases involve someone the person knows well. This can sometimes make it even more difficult to spot because the person might isolate the senior citizen or make it difficult to access their financial documents and accounts.
Various types of financial abuse
Financial exploitation of senior citizens comes in many forms. It might involve bogus investments or lottery schemes. Identity theft, changes to estate plans, fraudulent credit card transactions and forged checks are also possible. Unfortunately, trying to battle back when these happen can often be challenging.
Finding out that there is a financial issue is often difficult. Your loved one might not recall what’s going on with their finances. They may not recognize transactions but this is sometimes due to the memory problems that are commonly associated with this age group. It might take some investigation to find out exactly what’s going on with financial accounts.
Senior citizens may not report the matter
Sometimes, senior citizens know about the financial exploitation but they don’t do anything because they don’t want anyone to get into trouble. While this is understandable, there is no reason why they should have to deal with the impacts of someone messing with their money.
Another reason they might not say anything is that they don’t want to feel embarrassed that the situation occurred. Letting them know that you aren’t upset and helping them find ways to correct the issue might be beneficial in these cases.
Of course, there are times when legal action is necessary. Working closely with the senior citizen to ensure they’re taking the necessary steps to correct the issues can help to prevent issues from continuing.