Financial elder abuse occurs when a person uses illegal or deceptive methods to gain control of a senior citizen’s assets. Sometimes the method is straight forward – stealing money outright or forging the senior’s signature on a check, car title, or deed. Other times, abusers use more subtle methods – convincing the senior to give them credit card information in order to claim a non-existent prize, for instance, or soliciting donations for a fraudulent charity.
Someone a Senior Knows
The perpetrator of financial elder abuse may be someone the senior knows and loves, such as a child or grandchild. In these cases, the abuser is usually in great need of money – often to feed an addiction – and believes that he or she is somehow entitled to the senior’s money and other assets. The family member who abuses may make statements like, “She didn’t take care of me right when I was a kid, so she owes me something now.”
A Stranger Who Becomes a Friend
Other abusers start out as strangers but quickly work their way into the senior citizen’s life as a friend, a love interest, or even a caregiver. Once they have attained a position that gives them access to the senior’s valuables and bank accounts, the exploitation begins.
Scams via Phone and Mail
Another type of financial abuser perpetrates telephone scams, coaxing seniors into pouring their money into worthless investments or spending thousands of dollars on merchandise that is little more than junk. These abusers tend to prey upon seniors who are slightly confused and don’t always understand the consequences of their financial decisions.
Elder Care Protection
Protecting your loved one from all forms of abuse is important in elder care. Sadly, though, you may not discover that your loved one has been financially abused until his or her assets have vanished. This is especially true if your loved one still handles his or her own finances.
Hire a Reputable Home Care Agency
One option that can help stop financial abuse and promote good elder care is to hire a pre-screened caregiver from a reputable agency that provides in-home services to seniors. The caregiver who visits several times per week is in a perfect position to notice suspicious activity – increased check-writing to family members or unfamiliar charities, phone calls or visits from new “friends,” or an increase in the number of deliveries made to the home.
When you hire the caregiver, discuss your concerns about financial abuse with the agency and the caregiver. Make it clear that you want to be informed of any signs the caregiver sees of any type of abuse. Becoming aware of a possible problem early on can allow you to protect your loved one from being financially exploited.
When researching options for elder care agencies in Gilbert AZ, call us at (480) 535-6800. Home care counselors at Endeavor Home Care are available to talk with you about your elder care needs including how to reduce caregiver stress while providing better, affordable care. We are an elder care agency providing home care in Gilbert, AZ.