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Protect your aging parents from elder financial abuse

It is only natural to worry about your aging parent. According to the National Council on Aging, elder financial exploitation costs older Americans up to $36.5 billion each year. Sadly, the perpetrators are often those closest to the victim, like nursing home caregivers.

If you think nursing home workers are exploiting your parents, take the following steps to ensure their financial safety.

Start with prevention

When discussing your loved one’s care, work with a single point of contact at the facility. Have them alert you if they notice any unusual changes in your parent’s routine. Set up automatic bill pay and direct deposit whenever possible.

Know the warning signs

Signs of elder financial exploitation and other types of elder abuse are often subtle. They are especially challenging to spot if your parent has cognitive issues, such as dementia. Keep your eyes open for the following behavior:

  • Withdrawing from loved ones
  • Claiming they are missing money, documents or other items
  • Stating someone is stealing from them
  • Altering their spending habits

Follow up

If you suspect financial abuse, discuss your suspicions with your parent in private. Follow up with your contact at the nursing home to communicate any concerns. A deep dive into your loved one’s financial files may be appropriate. Keep records of all conversations and important documents.

Your parents took care of you your entire life, and it is your turn to take care of them. By being proactive and following your instincts, you can ensure your loved ones are not victims of financial abuse.