Elder Financial Abuse is on the rise. With many older adults isolated from family, friends, and neighbors during the pandemic lockdown last year, scams and have been more prevalent than ever. The Courier Tribune’s recent article entitled “Are you a victim of elder abuse?” reports that the biggest problem is that these thefts often go unreported.
Senior Adults who are victims of scams, fraud or other types of abuse are often embarrased that they were tricked, or are afraid that if they report the abuse, they will be seen as less capable and independent. Another reason why so much elder abuse flies under the radar and is not reported, is because the one doing the abusing is often a family member or aquaintance.
Exploitation can be fraud, undue influence over a senior’s assets and being pressured to sign papers he or she does not understand. This might be a relative who absconds with a senior’s money or property. It could be a neighbor who agrees to a senior’s grocery shopping, but then pockets the change. It could be unscrupulous contractor who promise to provide home repairs, but never complete the work they were paid for.
One Texas county says the elder financial abuse reports are on the rise—a phenomenon seen across the U.S.— with self-neglect comprising the largest percentage of intake reports for older people, followed by financial crimes.
If you or a loved one sees themselves in any of those categories, speak to an experienced elder law attorney and go to the National Center on Elder Abuse website (ncea.acl.gov).
If you or an elderly family member is being abused in some way, help is available. In Dallas County, we are fortunate to have the Elder Financial Safety Center, a collaboration between The Senior Source, the Probate Court, and the District Attorney’s office. They have the ability to investigate and prosecute perpetrators, and help and support victims.
In all states, there are professionals who are required to report suspicions of maltreatment. Known as mandatory reporting, many states have a comprehensive list of professions who must take actions and file a report, such as chiropractors, occupational therapists, member of the clergy, attorneys, animal control officers, bank employees and many others.
Reference: Courier Tribune (July 11, 2021) “Are you a Victim of elder abuse?”
Photo by @analoglugunler on Unsplash