The word “abuse” typically denotes physical or emotional harm. For this reason, people in Salem concerned about protecting their loved ones in nursing homes from abuse usually look for signs of physical injuries or psychological harm. Yet there is another form of abuse they should be wary of.
Seniors are among the most financially stable demographics. Unfortunately, this often makes them targets for financial exploitation. Nursing home workers can easily use their positions as caretakers to take advantage of their wards in order to either obtain money through fraudulent means or flat out steal funds.
Financial elder abuse
Financial abuse of the elderly is an all-too-common problem, with the National Council on Aging reporting as much as $36.5 billion lost to this type of fraud every year. Seniors tend to carry less debt than those in younger demographics, and often have fewer liabilities. Plus, they may have several years worth of savings available to them, as well as steady income coming in from Social Security payments. The effects of advancing age make it more difficult for them to travel and seek recreational and leisurely pursuits, and it may require them to be more reliant on others (both for care and companionship). That reliance introduces the potential for exploitation.
Spotting the signs of such abuse
The trouble is that financial elder abuse does not leave physical cars (although it can cause emotional distress). That does not mean, however, that there are not signs one can look for to seem if such abuse exists between an elderly loved one and their caretaker. According to the website MoneyCrashers.com, such signs include:
- Unexplained withdrawals from checking and/or savings accounts
- A sudden increase in credit card activity
- Mounting liabilities from both unpaid debts and consumer purchases
One should notify both law enforcement authorities and a victim’s financial institutions of any suspicious activity.