Michigan families who have elderly parents in long-term care naturally worry about their loved ones. Elder financial abuse is a common problem, but you can prevent it.
What is elder financial abuse?
Elder financial abuse is a type of fraud that is perpetrated against older adults who might be more vulnerable due to cognitive decline. Sometimes, an older person can become a victim even if they still have their mental faculties but are not tech savvy.
It’s fair to worry about your older parent, especially in long-term care. They are often unable to effectively manage their finances in a way that can keep them safe. It’s up to you to protect your parent against this crime, which can have long-lasting effects.
How to prevent elder financial abuse from happening to your loved one
One of the first steps for preventing your parent from becoming a victim of elder financial abuse is to appoint someone trusted as an agent under a financial power of attorney. Or you can have someone serve as their financial advocate.
You should regularly check in on your parent and check their financial statements. Doing so can raise red flags if you notice anything suspicious. If you notice a very large purchase for something your parent would never buy, it might be a sign of fraud. You should also obtain a copy of their credit report to check it for errors or potential fraud.
If your elderly parent tells you that they suspect something is wrong with their money, always listen to them and take them seriously. Many older adults in long-term care facilities speak up but are dismissed due to cognitive issues. It could just be that someone is taking advantage of them and stealing their money.
If you have siblings, you might want to get them involved as well. Having more eyes on your parent’s financial situation can help prevent elder fraud.