Elder Financial Abuse: Who’s to Blame?

Nursing Home Blog

StealingWhen elder abuse and neglect hits headlines, it’s generally assumed that it involves a nursing home or some especially horrendous case of physical abuse administered by a caregiver. Less commonly thought about is elder financial abuse, which is a growing social, medical and public health issue. The National Center on Elder Abuse says that one in eight reported elder abuse cases involve financial abuse. According to a new study, relatives were the abusers in 58 percent of reported elder financial abuse cases. Most often, the abuser was the elderly individual’s adult child.

A family or household member is typically the financial abuser especially considering that around 95 percent of seniors live on their own or with immediate family, according to the American Psychological Association.

Elder financial abuse constitutes borrowing and taking money. Sometimes a relative purchases an item with a senior’s money, without her or his knowledge or permission. Sometimes the elder knows about financial abuse, but is powerless to stop it. Or they may feel responsible for their abusive children as parents and fail to tell someone about the financial abuse.

With a growing elderly population — 82 million people over the age of 65 by 2040, according to the Census Bureau— there is cause for concern regarding this growing issue. According to a CNBC article, Weill Cornell researchers found that low-income seniors in poor health and living with one or more relatives are at the greatest risk of financial abuse:

“If just one or two relatives live in the house, the incidence of elder financial abuse grew to 8.2 percent, and three or more non-spousal relatives took it to 13.7 percent. The people most at risk … are ‘vulnerable adults who may have people living with them because they need help.’”

Seniors with dementia or other cognitive disabilities are also at a high risk due to the disease and/or disabilities. Warning signs that financial abuse could be taking place include abnormalities with bank account and ATM withdrawals. Piles of paperwork mean someone isn’t taking care of the senior’s financial concerns.

If you have concerns regarding elder financial abuse, the elder abuse attorneys of Garcia & Artigliere immediately at 800-281-8515.