Many adult children wonder how they will manage the care of their aging parents. It’s not just ensuring elderly parents are in good health, but it’s also about ensuring their financial health and protecting them from financial abuse. Elder financial exploitation is the misuse of an older adult’s finances by a third party such as a family member, friend, or caregiver. Take a closer look at elder financial exploitation and what you can do to protect your aging parents.
Elder financial abuse takes many forms.
The most common cases of abuse include lottery or contest scams, home repair, telemarketing, charitable donation, door-to-door sales, reverse mortgage, medicare fraud, investment, annuity fraud, identity theft, and phishing scams. Seniors often get taken advantage of by scammers because they appear legitimate and use high-pressure tactics to get what they want. There are also instances when caregivers, friends, or family members misuse elderly assets. This includes securing a power of attorney under pretenses, opening a joint account to steal money, using their debit card or cashing checks on their bank account, making fake purchases with credit cards, and over-billing for caregiver services.
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Why are aging parents at risk?
Aging parents are at-risk for scams and abuse because many parents don’t discuss money with their adult children. It’s not uncommon for older people to not disclose their later-life or end-of-life plans with their adult children, including estate planning and power of attorney for financial and medical decisions. Older adults who are isolated or in poor health are often easy targets. Caregivers can take advantage of older adults who aren’t checked in on by family members often, and those with health issues or mental deterioration are at a greater risk.
Long-term care facilities are meant to provide older adults with a certain standard of quality of care. Sadly, many elderly patients experience negligence and abuse by staff members. There are many forms of nursing home abuse including physical abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, and emotional abuse. Nursing home neglect results from substandard care or the failure of caregivers to perform their responsibilities. This includes medical neglect, failure to meet basic needs, failure to maintain personal hygiene, and social or emotional neglect. The attorneys at HGD Law Firm have years of experience representing elderly residents who are victims of abuse and neglect. They can provide legal advice and the next steps to take when there is suspicion or evidence of neglect.
Take the right steps to protect aging parents.
You can help your aging parents protect themselves by looking over financial accounts together. You don’t have to go into depth about your parent’s finances, but it’s important to look for suspicious activity, whether bills are being paid, and if they have any financial concerns. Make sure your parents have a will and power of attorney for financial decisions in place so there are no questions or conflicts if they can no longer make financial decisions. It’s a good idea to close any unused accounts and streamline finances so it’s easier to track where their money is going.