When you think about putting a loved one into a nursing home or having someone take over caring for them, one thing you need to be cautious of is financial abuse.
Unlike physical, medical or mental abuse, financial abuse involves a situation where one party takes advantage of an elder who can’t defend themselves by coercing them into giving up their assets or tricks a senior suffering from dementia and confusion into turning their assets over.
What does financial abuse look like?
Financial abuse is carried out in many ways ranging from impersonating someone the elder cares about to outright stealing from them during visits to their home or property. Forms of financial abuse may include:
- Stealing assets
- Taking control of the person’s property and assets through a change to the will
- Spending down an inheritance
- Identity theft
- Coercing an elder to give away assets or money
As someone caring for an elderly person, you should take time to check their accounts and to identify and locate their assets prior to inviting anyone new into the home. Additionally, if financial elder abuse is suspected, working with an attorney and forensic accountant may help you identify where funds or assets have gone and help you recover them for the estate.
Why don’t elders speak up about financial issues?
There could be many reasons why your loved one won’t tell you about financial issues they notice. Fear of the person abusing them, coercive techniques, confusion and other factors could play a role. Some people will also be embarrassed and not want to explain what happened. It’s okay to step in. If you feel that your loved one was taken advantage of, then you should look into the legal options to help.