As someone grows old, they may need other people to take care of their finances as they may not be fully capable. Some people have conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia that can cause mental malfunctioning- but bear in mind that not all of your relatives may want the best for the elders.
What Is Financial Abuse?
Elders are more prone to different kinds of abuse, and financial abuse is more difficult to track as there are no visible signs. Some people may go through financial abuse for several years before it is detected.
Financial abuse is not limited to cash stealing; it can be valuable items, cards, or taking control of a power of attorney. If you go unnoticed for too long, elders may lose everything that they have. Thus, they cannot pay rent, home care, or their day-to-day expenses.
Whenever elders find themselves in these situations, it may bring more health complications as they will feel financial distress, leading to stress, depression, and other mental problems.
Who Are More At Risk?
People who care surrounded by their family members are less at risk of being victims of financial abuse. And these cases may go unnoticed for a long time. During the lock-down, many elders were isolated from their family members, which increased the rate of financial scams.
Anyone with mental conditions is limited in making coherent decisions in almost every aspect of their life. The elderly are more affected by Alzheimer’s and Dementia that do not allow them to take proper care of themselves and surely not take financial decisions. People with mental conditions are the primary target of abusers, as they won’t recognize their mischievous acts.
Old people are often lonely, and they tend to be more emotional when having friends. Many people who befriend old people do so with bad intentions.
Who Commits Elder Financial Abuse?
You may find this weird, but financial abusers are mainly people in the surrounding of the elderly. While some might think that strangers are the most common perpetrators of financial abuse, the opposite is true. The NCEA reported that 53% of elder financial abuse cases were committed by family members such as adult children or spouses. Older people may trust lawyers, managers, or financial advisors to keep their assets safe. However, these people sometimes abuse their position of power to exploit their clients. Financial abuse in nursing homes may occur in a variety of ways. Staff can take cash or ATM cards out of a resident’s purse or wallet, write checks in their name, or steal through other means. A family member or a caregiver commits not every case of elder financial abuse. Every year, phone and email scams deprive seniors of their finances.
Why Do Those People Commit Financial Elder Abuse?
People financially abuse elders because they choose money over the trust and well-being of the older person. This is particularly true when the elder is a family member. Most of them declare that they fear their loved ones won’t leave anything behind for them or that this money belongs rightfully through inheritance. Some of them in situations of financial distress, thus resort to stealing.
It is important to check on your loved ones from time to time to see if ever they are being abused financially. It is best to talk to them about the matter and get more than one person in charge of the finances if ever the latter cannot make financial decisions independently. Let us know in the comment what do you think about elder financial abuse…