Elder Abuse Awareness
The “Boomer Generation” Effect is going to continue to affect the US population for decades. The[TC1] 2010 Census recorded the greatest number and proportion of people 65 and older in all of census history. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, this number is expected to continue to grow by millions as the population ages. With as many as 10% of the older population experiencing some type of abuse, whether verbal, physical or financial, it is imperative more than ever for seniors to select a trustworthy person to properly manage their finances and personal affairs.
Seniors who have various mental, physical, and social vulnerabilities that require them to rely more heavily on others are more at risk for falling victim to some type of elder abuse. If you are finding yourself needing help with daily obligations, it may be wise to appoint someone you trust to handle your financial matters, thus aiding in the prevention against these crimes.
These tips can help when choosing the right financial caregiver and prevent financial abuse:
- When delegating financial decisions, make sure it’s someone you trust. The disappointing truth is that family members are the most common perpetrators of abuse. If you are unable to facilitate financial transactions, carefully choose a trustworthy person to act as your agent in all financial matters. This person may need to be someone more responsible than a direct relative.
- Know who is in your home. Conduct a thorough background check on all individuals you hire for personal care or home care services. Check references and credentials before you let them into your personal space.
- Never sign something you don’t understand. Consult with a financial advisor or attorney before signing any document that appears suspicious or unclear.
- Understand the terms of assigning a Power of Attorney. Granting someone POA gives them the authority to act and make decisions on your behalf, including managing and having access to your bank and other financial accounts. Make sure you fully understand the terms and conditions of consulting a legal agent before you do so.
- Always trust your instincts. Exploiters and abusers are very skilled. They can be very charming and forceful in their efforts to exploit you. Don’t be fooled – if something doesn’t feel right, it may not be.
- Safeguard your personal information. Shred old bills, junk mail, bank statements and other personal documents you no longer need. Leaving any new or old personal documents around the house could lead to the misuse of your information. Consider putting keepsake documents in a locked cabinet or safe deposit box at your nearest bank for storage.
- Keep personal items out of plain sight. Lock up checkbooks, credit cards and other monetary instruments to prevent unauthorized use.
Abuse in any form is unacceptable. But elder abuse often goes unrecognized and unreported because of the victim’s shape, their fear of losing independence, or their fear of retaliation. Financial exploitation is not always apparent as physical abuse can be. Every day in the United States, someone’s finances are being exploited by someone they thought they could trust. If you have loved ones that you feel may be vulnerable, it’s important to know the signs to look for to prevent abuse.
Financial exploitation can have a direct impact on care and/or quality of care by depriving victims of the financial resources needed to access basic medical treatment or prescription drugs. If you suspect someone is the victim of elder abuse or financial exploitation, you should report the suspected abuse to DHS, Protective Services at (800) 362-2178. Cases are investigated by local authorities.
Don’t let you or your loved ones fall victim to financial exploiters. Fill out our short contact form to speak with one of our experts about setting up a Trust to help manage your finances securely.
Lincoln Savings Bank, Member FDIC
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