As the American population ages, individuals often become particularly vulnerable to financial abuse and exploitation. For this reason, loved ones of older Americans should take the time to familiarize themselves with the common signs of financial abuse. Recognizing the signs of potential financial abuse may allow you to save an elderly loved one from losing great sums of money to unsavory people who are looking for an opportunity to financially exploit them.
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, 90% of the perpetrators of elderly financial abuse are people known to the victims. This can include caregivers, relatives, friends of the family, or neighbors. Therefore, you can never assume that just because your loved one has no contact with anyone other than relatives and friends that he or she is safe from financial abuse. Here are some of the most common warning signs of the potential for financial abuse and exploitation of the elderly:
- An elderly individual who previously was sharp and alert begins to show difficulty in remembering important matters, such as finances
- Physical frailty causes an older individual to become dependent on others to perform physical chores around the house or provide other caregiving activities
- An elderly individual lives in isolation and no friends or relatives check on him or her regularly
- Questionable behavior by relatives, such as suddenly spending a great deal of time with an elderly loved one or seeming to have a new, more expensive lifestyle
Keep in mind that many incidents of financial abuse go unreported, often because the victim is unaware of the abuse or is too embarrassed to admit that it occurred. If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from financial abuse, even if it is by a relative or caregiver, you should immediately take the steps necessary to stop the abuse from occurring, including notifying the proper authorities, if necessary.
At Boller & Vaughan, we are here to stand up for the rights of senior citizens and their families who have suffered substantial injuries, whether physical, emotional, or financial, while under the care of those are supposed to prevent such injuries from occurring. Contact us today at (608) 268-0268, set up an appointment with one of our Wisconsin home health care abuse attorneys, and discover how we can help.