Ideally, the individuals who are in charge of taking care of an elderly person should do everything that they can to provide this person with the best possible care. If you have an elderly parent or other loved one who is under the care of someone else, such as if he or she is in a nursing home, then you might have put in a lot of work and research to try to find the perfect facility or the perfect caregiver. Unfortunately, sometimes, even if you do your research to try to find the perfect person to provide care for your elderly loved one, things can go wrong. For example, one thing that you have to worry about is financial exploitation
Financial Exploitation: A Common Problem for Senior Citizens
Older Americans, on average, are much more wealthy than younger Americans. Unfortunately, many of these elderly people are put into situations in which they are at risk of being taken advantage of in a financial way. This is a surprisingly common problem and is definitely something that you should be concerned about if you have an elderly loved one.
Signs of Financial Exploitation
As someone with an elderly loved one who is in a nursing home or who is being cared for, even part-time, by a caregiver, it is important to watch out for the warning signs of abuse or neglect. However, even though you might have looked out for physical signs of abuse, you might not have thought about the possibility of financial exploitation being a problem. If you pay attention, though, there are various red flags that you can look out for. These are some of the potential signs of financial exploitation that you should watch out for.
- Decline in Standard of Living – If your loved one’s lifestyle does not seem to match his or her bank account balance, this can be cause for concern. Not only does it mean that your loved one might not be living the lifestyle that he or she is accustomed to, but it could also mean that someone is taking advantage of him or her.
- Lack of Adequate Medical Care – Ensuring that your loved one gets the medical care that he or she needs is probably a top priority for you. If your loved one is being financially exploited, however, a caregiver might not be dedicating your loved one’s funds to the medical care that is required. If you have noticed that your parent or other loved one is not getting the medication that he or she needs or is otherwise lacking in regards to medical care, it’s important to address the situation immediately.
- Things are Disappearing – It’s true that things sometimes get lost. However, if your elderly loved one has been complaining about money, credit or debit cards, checkbooks, jewelry or other items of value or anything else missing, then it could be a red flag that something is amiss.
- Changes to How Your Loved One Spends Money – If your loved one is usually quite frugal but has been spending large amounts of money, or if your loved one has been buying things that just don’t make sense, this situation needs to be addressed.
As you can see, there are various red flags that you can watch out for. If you have noticed any of these things or if matters seem to be amiss in other ways, you should not just ignore the situation. In many cases, these situations do not get better on their own. Instead, they usually get worse, particularly if the perpetrator thinks that he or she is getting away with it. If you don’t take action, then your loved one’s bank accounts could be slowly drained dry.
How to Prevent Financial Exploitation
It’s important to do what you can to prevent financial exploitation from being an issue with your elderly parent or other family member. For one thing, it is important to be careful about who you trust in regards to your loved one’s money and care. For example, if your loved one has an in-home caregiver, consider handling your loved one’s bills and finances yourself or assigning this job to another trusted family member. Then, the caregiver can simply focus on providing day-to-day, non-financial-related care. If you choose a nursing home, making sure that you do your research and choose a reputable facility is important. Additionally, checking in on your loved one’s finances from time to time and watching out for warning signs is also important.
What to Do if Your Loved One is Being Financially Exploited
If you think that your loved one is being financially exploited, then it is important to take action. In some cases, criminal charges can be filed, such in the case of theft or forgery. Other situations can be more complicated, however. Regardless, this is not something that you should try to handle on your own. Instead, consider hiring a San Diego elder financial exploitation lawyer who has experience in handling cases like this. Then, you can get professional help with handling the situation and protecting your loved one’s finances in the future.
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