What are the signs of financial elder abuse?
Imagine that your elderly parent informs you that they have recently donated their house. Another possibility is that they have sent a check to a company they’ve never heard of before.
Sadly, these are not imaginations. These are signs of financial elder abuse. This abuse can ruin your loved one’s financial safety net and destabilize their entire life.
Keep reading to discover these six warning signs and what you can do to stop them.
1. Large Withdrawals from Bank Accounts
Unexplained withdrawals or transfers without your elder’s consent form part of financial crimes. If this happens, it already means someone is taking advantage of them.
If you notice such red flags, you must reach out to your loved one and find out what’s happening. If they’re able to explain the situation, that would be great.
But if they seem confused or are unwilling to talk about it, this could signify that they’re taken advantage of financially.
In this case, you may need to contact their bank or financial institution to get more information. If the situation is much more serious, reach out to law enforcement.
For the financial security of the elders, the elder financial safety center can help to avoid this problem.
2. Missing Valuables and Possessions
Several warning signs of financial elder abuse include missing valuables or possessions. If you notice that your elderly parent is missing money, jewelry, or other valuable items, it’s essential to investigate and determine what happened.
There’s a possibility that your elders misplace the important belongings or maybe more than that.
3. Unexpected Financial Obligations
They suddenly have unexpected financial obligations, such as a new mortgage or credit card debt, which is maybe a sign that someone has taken advantage of their financial situation.
It can also happen when someone coerces your elder into signing a contract or taking out a loan, often with the promise of providing financial help or services.
Other warning signs include changes in their usual spending habits and the transfer of power of attorney to someone outside the family.
4. Updated Living Arrangements
Suppose your elderly loved one who has previously lived independently moves in with a family or new acquaintance. In that case, it may indicate that they have undergone abuse and need your attention.
If you notice any of these, you must speak to them and determine what is happening. Your elder may be a victim of financial scams and abuse.
5. Unpaid Bills And Expenses
If you notice that your elderly loved ones are not paying bills on time or getting behind on their expenses, it’s a warning sign of financial elder abuse. Something is wrong, especially if your elderly loved one has never had financial struggles.
Elderly individuals can be vulnerable to financial abuse due to cognitive decline, isolation, or dependence on others.
6. Lack of Self-Care or Hygiene
If your elder loved one is suddenly unkempt, or the house is untidy and cluttered, it might indicate cognitive decline or physical decline, and maybe someone is threatening them.
In addition, if they can no longer participate in things they once enjoyed, this could indicate something is wrong.
Protect Your Elders from Financial Elder Abuse
Although financial elder abuse is a problem that is often overlooked, it is essential to be aware of the warning signs of this type of abuse.
If you suspect a loved one is a victim of financial elder abuse, act now. Don’t hesitate to contact your local law enforcement or adult protective services agency.
You can find more information and resources in our blog posts.