Did you know that 141 out of every 1,000 New Yorkers over the age of 60 have experienced some act of elder abuse? Moreover, elder abuse is not always in the form of physical mistreatment. The practice is sometimes executed via financial exploitation.
Do not let an in-home health aide or nursing home employee take advantage of your loved one. If you are trying to make safe and secure accommodations for mom or dad, here is what you should know about financial elder abuse.
What are the warning signs of financial elder abuse?
It may be hard to determine whether financial elder abuse is happening. However, you should look for the following signs, which suggest some form of exploitation:
- Unexplained asset transfers.
- Out-of-character spending behavior.
- A recent uptick of unpaid bills (where a means to pay exists).
- Abrupt changes in an elder's insurance, will, trust or other financial document.
- Any new "best friends" that come into the elder's life - especially those not promoting the best interests of your loved one.
How can I prevent financial elder abuse?
The best way to prevent financial elder abuse is to help your mom or dad keep track of finances. Have them sit down with a financial professional and go over transactions and bills. Your loved one should be knowledgeable about his or her current situation. This will help prevent the chance of exploitation.
Another tip is to encourage parents to use checks and credit cards for financial transactions. This way, there is an electronic record of all financial dealings. Discourage the use of cash, which is easy to spend and can be difficult to keep track of.
Finally, be sure mom and dad exercise caution when providing financial or personal information over the telephone or Internet. At all costs, they should avoid providing strangers with access to financial accounts.
To learn more about safeguarding your family's finances, speak with a local attorney.