You might be wondering why I’m writing about elder abuse on a financial blog, right? Unfortunately, all types of elder abuse are on the rise in lock step with our aging population -including financial abuse. Regarding abuse of our seniors, in a study done by MetLife in 2009, only 1 in 6 cases of elder abuse is even reported. And, in dollar terms alone, the estimated losses from reported cases of elder abuse adds up to whopping $2.6 billion per year. So, what is being reported is just the tip of the iceberg.
From a health care point of view the concerns are multiple. The early stages of dementia and Alzheimer’s often go undetected by friends and family members. The number of cases of Alzheimer’s in our population is on the rise. And, these cognitive diseases whether diagnosed or not diagnosed can make our seniors even more vulnerable as targets for emotional, verbal, physical and financial abuse.
Recently actor Mickey Rooney, now 90 years old testified to Congress about the alleged financial abuse that he suffered at the hands of his stepson. Rooney a fixture on the American screen since the 1920’s is quoted as saying “If it happened to me, it can happen to anyone.”
When it comes to elder financial abuse, what are some specific things that you should be on the look out for?
- Disaster-home repair fraud after a tornado, flood, hurricane etc.
- Price gouging for goods and services
- Unscrupulous charities
- Unusual changes to financial situation
- Monthly bills going unpaid
- Changes to wills, trusts or powers of attorney
- Lottery scams
Frankly, the list is potentially endless. The ‘bad guys’ and their scams are coming after our seniors from all over the world via telephone, U. S. mail, email and the internet. And, sadly, sometimes the ‘bad guys’ come in the form of trusted care givers and family members.
What can you do?
- Keep an eye out for your parents, grandparents,elder friends and family members
- Be aware of changes in their financial, emotional and mental health
- If cognitive diseases run in your family, plan ahead on how you are going to deal with financial and health care issues that will come up due to dementia and Alzheimer’s
- Be ready to take appropriate action
- Use the National Elder Care Locator if you need a starting place for available resources www.eldercare.gov 1-800-677-1116
- In Georgia to learn about available resources contact the Georgia Department of Human Services
About Jane Nowak, CFP® – MoneyGal2020
Jane Nowak is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ with a focus on Women’s Retirement and Financial Planning for Women. Located in Smyrna, GA, Jane’s goal is to educate and empower women to take control of their daily finances so they can fully fund their retirement dreams and needs. Jane has recently had articles quoted and published on-line at the NASDAQ, Womenetics.com, Smart Money Chicks, Fox Business, Credit Cards and Financial Planning Association websites.
Securities offered through Triad Advisors, Inc. Member, FINRA/SIPC