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Let's face it -- our parents are getting older and we need to make considerations for their care. In today's contributed post, the writer explores how to defend your elderly parents against elder abuse. Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Thanks!
Anyone that has even the smallest interest in current affairs will know there has been an increase in financial abuse against the elderly. In a word, it’s sick. Yet, here we are, in a world where it has become an epidemic.
In fact, it is an epidemic that costs seniors over $36 billion each and every year. We’re talking about professional scammers, cyber scammers, caregivers, financial advisors and those ballsy enough to con them out of money over the phone are all part of the problem, taking advantage of vulnerabilities, especially dementia.
“What can you about this?” we hear you muttering to yourself, disgusted that we are even in this situation. Well, we have come up with four ways in which you can protect your elderly parents from falling victim to this kind of abuse and better protect their finances.
The best thing you can do is be present because nothing is going to help you gauge a situation better than firsthand discoveries. The sort of things you are looking for is unpaid bills on the kitchen table, excessive spending on their bank statements, strange looking emails on their iPad and anything that constitutes as being a red flag.
Now, the thing that may be quite hard to swallow is the accompanying clues, such as physical or emotional distress. If you think something is up on this front, it could be to do with financial abuse.
Dementia, memory loss, ill-health of any kind - they can all prevent an elderly person’s financial wishes from coming true, which is why you need to host so tough conversations. The problem is, this can often feel like an intrusion of privacy, especially as we are taught not to ask about other people’s finances.
This needs to change though. Ask your parents who has been granted power of attorney. Speak to a probate lawyer about any concerns you have; something you can learn more at EastBayAttorney.com. Go through any financial documents you can find. Make sure the executors of the will know about any estate plans.
Ask about their care wishes. And ensure there is a will in place. These aren’t easy chats, but they will make life easier.
We are not saying that caregivers are untrustworthy. Not at all. And in the research conducted, they make up a very small percentage of financial abuse pie. However, no one is better placed than a caregiver when it comes to committing a crime of this ilk. That is why you need to make sure you vet any caregivers before committing to their services.
A great way to do this is to use a service like Caring.com, which allows you to browse different consumer reviews, get referrals and soak up all the social proof you need to be confident in your decision.
Don’t just stop there, though. Once you have hired someone, make sure people frequently pop in and visit your parent and make sure the senior in your life knows not to share their financial information with the caregiver. It is just better to be safe than sorry.