Warning Signs of Financial Abuse of the Elderly
Studies show that financial abuse of the elderly is a growing problem throughout the United States and especially here in Florida. The overall population is aging, and persons over 65 years old control about one-third of the wealth in the United States. This creates a big problem when you consider this group is much more susceptible to abuse due to health problems like dementia.
Estimates show that Americans loose nearly $3 billion a year due to financial abuse of the elderly from friends, loved ones, or even strangers. This abuse comes in the form of financial abuse, scams, and other types of exploitation. The worst part is this type of financial abuse of the elderly is that it usually goes undiscovered until all an elder’s money is gone.
We urge clients not to wait until it’s too late. There are sometimes common warning signs that indicate financial abuse of the elderly. This is not an exhaustive list, but here are a few common signs that abuse may be occurring.
Common Warning Signs of Financial Abuse of the Elderly
1. The biggest indicator of financial abuse of the elderly is when the elder is isolated from the family. As an elder gets older, it’s important that friends and family members keep in close contact with the person to make sure they are doing well mentally and physically. If the elder is isolated, or not allowed to communicate with friends and family members without the presence of a “caregiver” or a particular family member, then this may be a sign of elder abuse.
2. Another common sign of financial abuse of the elderly is when the elder is paranoid someone is trying to take advantage of him or her. As people get older, we often become dismissive of their opinions or perceptions of events around them. Sometimes older people may appear cranky or out-of-touch, but often these are people of sound mind that know exactly what is going on. If an elderly person expresses his or her belief someone is taking advantage of him or her, then this could be a sign.
3. Unusual activity in the elder’s bank account can also indicate financial abuse of the elderly. People often get in habits or routines of activity, which becomes more common as someone ages. After a while of monitoring a person’s bank account, you may begin to notice strange activity that is not common of the elder such as frequent online purchases, automatic payments, or multiple payments for similar services each month. Keep an eye out for financial activity that seems out of the ordinary.
4. Another Sign of financial abuse of the elderly is when the “caregiver” has an abnormal amount of sway in the elder’s life. Common signs may be when the elder adds the caregiver’s name to their bank accounts or credit cards. The elder has numerous withdrawals in round amounts such as $500 exactly. Another sign is when the caregiver is receiving inordinately high compensation for caregivers, like $1,000 a week to drive them to doctor’s appointments.
The best tool to detect financial abuse of the elderly is common sense. If something doesn’t seem right then, it is possible some form of financial abuse of the elderly is occurring. If you suspect you, or a friend or loved one, is an elder that is suffering from financial abuse feel free to contact the Jacksonville elder law attorneys at The Law Office of David M. Goldman PLLC today.