Financial Elder Abuse Is Growing — But Is It Preventable?

Nursing Home Blog

balancing-checkbookElder abuse, let alone elder financial exploitation, is rarely on the minds of the average U.S. citizen. Yet elder abuse is a growing issue that needs to be addressed. Financial abuse is actually the most common form of elder abuse despite headlines that time and again bring to light elder abuse in nursing homes and assisted living situations.

By definition, financial abuse is the “illegal or improper use of an older adult’s funds, property or assets” by any person, whether it’s a relative or a door-to-door scam artist.

Seniors and the mentally disabled are the most vulnerable to financial abuse by caregivers or scammers. Sometimes financial abuse occurs without the abuser considering it as such. For example, family members who take over as caregiver may not realize they are exploiting a loved one when they “borrow” money without the senior’s permission or knowledge.

Warning signs that seniors may need a financial caregiver include:

  • Difficulty in figuring out bills
  • Depression
  • Missing details, like an overdue payment
  • Inability to see the big picture of personal finances
  • Worsening numeracy skills and understanding of financial issues like deductibles

How do you prevent financial elder abuse?

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released four readable booklets to help financial caregivers who may be new to their role. Click here to download PDF files for each.

Attorneys and physicians are being taught to recognize when their clients and patients may be at risk for financial exploitation via the Elder Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation Prevention Program. EIFFE publishes the “Clinician’s Pocket Guide” to guide physicians and lawyers through a list of questions to better assess a patient’s or client’s financial savvy.

The elder abuse attorneys at Garcia, Artigliere & Medby understand how hard it is to deal with an elder abuse or financial exploitation situation. Let us help you today. Call 1-800-281-8515. Learn more about our services online.