August 9, 2022
Est. Reading: 7 minutes

How to identify elderly financial abuse

Elderly financial abuse by family members, friends, or caregivers, such as those working in a nursing home, is known as elder financial abuse. Seniors who have worked hard to accumulate money for decades may find themselves bankrupt as a result of elder abuse. Many solutions exist to protect the elderly from being victimized financially.

What Exactly Is Financial Abuse of the Elderly

When someone takes money or valuables from an elderly person, elder financial abuse has occurred. As individuals become older, they may find that managing their money and taking care of themselves becomes more difficult without the assistance of others. People with Alzheimer's or dementia have a greater need for this care since their mental abilities are deteriorating due to these diseases.

Unfortunately, elderly individuals may place their faith in others who don't have their best interests at heart when making decisions. Anyone, whether a family member, a friend, or a caregiver, has the potential to attempt to make money from an elderly person.

Financial exploitation of the elderly might take place as a result of:

Taking anything of value from an elderly person

The process of taking over the power of attorney for an elderly person.

cash or credit cards of the elder

Elder financial abuse might be more difficult to detect since the victim may not be physically harmed. Elder financial abuse may go undetected for years before anybody realizes there is a problem.

Elder financial exploitation may have far-reaching ramifications in the long run. Rent, nursing home care, and other necessities may be out of reach for the elderly if they lose all they've worked so hard for.

Financial exploitation may have a negative impact on a victim's emotional well-being as well. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, financial abuse may lead to depression or anxiety among seniors (NCEA).

There are measures to stop the financial exploitation of the elderly, though. You may, for example, inform Adult Protective Services (APS) or local law enforcement about suspected incidents to help bring those responsible to justice.

Who Is at Risk of Financial Abuse Against Elderly People?

Elder financial exploitation may happen to everyone, but it affects certain seniors more than others.

Elderly people are more likely to be victims of financial abuse.

You're All by Yourself

Those over the age of 60 who do not have a strong support system from family or friends may be more vulnerable to abuse. Financial exploitation of an elderly person might go undetected for days, months, or even years if no one checks on them.

This viral outbreak made it difficult for elderly people to visit their loved ones, which increased the danger of financial exploitation for many. In the event that elders are exploited, they may not recognize a scam or know where to turn for assistance.

Know someone who has Alzheimer's or another kind of dementia

Dementia and Alzheimers impair a person's capacity to make rational choices or look for oneself. Elder financial abuse preys on those who can't detect or stop it, such as the elderly with dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

Three caretakers defrauded an elderly lady with dementia for more than $300,000 over the course of two years. Her jewelry was sold, and her social security checks were used for their personal gain, all while her bank account was depleted. All three defendants were convicted and given lengthy prison sentences as well as large restitution payments.

Make a "New Best Friend" for Yourself

Loneliness is common among the elderly. People with nefarious motives may attempt to befriend them and take their money if they do not have a spouse, excellent friends, or relatives nearby. As a result, family members should be alert for any abrupt changes in an elderly person's social life, such as new "friendships."

A lady who worked as a live-in nurse for an elderly Holocaust survivor and her husband cheated them out of practically all of their money. The grandmother's grandson characterized the nurse as his and his grandmother's dearest friend and expressed shock that she had taken so much money from them.

Who Commits Financial Abuse Against the Elderly?

Financial exploitation of the elderly is most often committed by family members, spouses, or someone else in a senior's trust.

Friends and members of the family

Contrary to popular belief, strangers are not the most frequent perpetrators of financial abuse. Adult children or spouses are responsible for 53% of occurrences of elder financial abuse, according to the NCAA.

When a guy and his former wife were suspected of stealing over $350,000 from his elderly mother's bank accounts, the police were quick to arrest them. After a few years, the victim's savings were depleted, and she was forced to rely on a friend to help pay her bills.

A combination of lawyers and financial advisors

Lawyers, managers, and financial consultants may be trusted by the elderly to protect their possessions. It's true that some of these individuals misuse their positions of authority to take advantage of the people they serve.

In 2005, 71-year-old singer Leonard Cohen realized that his manager had taken nearly $5 million from him in a prominent example of elder financial exploitation. His manager was sentenced to 18 months in prison and over $10 million in restitution.

Staff and caregivers in nursing homes

Nursing home financial abuse may take many forms. Staff may remove money from a resident's wallet or pocketbook, create checks in their name, or commit other types of theft.

Taking power of attorney from a handicapped Army veteran in a nursing home resulted in a two-year prison term for an Iowa lady. A power of attorney enables one person to legally manage the assets of another individual or company. Her spending totaled more than $120,000, which was taken from the victim's account.


Family members and caregivers are not always responsible for elder financial abuse. Scams using phone calls and emails defraud thousands of elderly each year.

The perpetrators may say or do whatever they choose.

The older man was the lucky winner of a lottery.

These people are relatives in need of assistance.

They are tasked with inspecting financial institutions.

Contractors and their work is needed at the elder's residence

A Florida preacher pretended to be a contractor and performed shoddy modifications to an elderly woman's house, costing her $35,000 in total. Eventually, police were able to apprehend the suspect.

People commit financial elder abuse for a variety of reasons.

People take advantage of the elderly by defrauding them of their assets because they value their money more than the trust and well-being of the elderly. This is especially true if the elderly person is a relative.

Elder financial abusers' family members may:

Afraid that the senior may blow up their retirement funds and leave nothing for the children or grandchildren.

Feel as though the old person's possessions belong to them as an heirloom.

Have issues with money, gambling, or other vices

to ensure that the old person's assets do not pass to other family members

Predators outside the family may take advantage of the trusting character and lack of technology skills of elderly people to defraud them. People who conduct crimes against the elderly don't give a fig about whether or not they inflict pain and suffering on the victims.

Elder financial exploitation warning indicators

There are several indications that financial elder abuse is going place, due to the variety of forms it may take.

Elder financial abuse might show itself in a number of ways.

Sending the culprit checks or bank statements

Fraudulent signatures or checks on official documents

Extravagant withdrawals from your bank or account transfers

Property or possessions that are missing

The state of mind shifts (such as depression or anxiety)

Will or powers of attorney modifications made by a senior

The elder signed weird contracts that they had no idea what they were about to get themselves into

The old individual has no idea how much money they have.

Bills that have not been paid and notices of eviction

If bills are not paid, utilities will be turned off.

Unexplained withdrawals from a senior citizen who never should have done so

Perpetrators Show Signs of Financial Abuse of the Elderly

You should also be on the lookout for symptoms that someone is abusing an elderly person you care for. By being aware of these warning indicators, you'll be able to take action more quickly.

If someone does the following to an elderly person, they may be financially abusing them:

The older person calls you his or her "new best buddy."

Overcharging for things or services that an older person need is unethical.

To make a revision in the elder's will or financial arrangements

Have their own issues with money

Decide on a number of new financial matters for the senior

Strange explanations for the elderly person living in poverty should be provided.

Suggest that you're curious about how much money your older uses

Use a senior's credit card without their knowledge.

Unauthorized use of another person's property or things

Gain the trust of the elderly by occupying reputable jobs.

Do not hesitate to intervene if you see any of these warning signals in an elderly loved one or a close friend.

Reporting Elder Financial Abuse: What to Do and Where to Go

Protecting your loved one begins with reporting suspected occurrences of elder financial abuse. Professionals like police officers and attorneys may become involved in elder abuse cases, investigate, and bring those responsible to justice when victims come forward and report it.

Financial elder abuse may be reported to the following authorities:

Services for people in need of protection from abuse are provided by Adult Protective Services (APS). APS members may look into allegations of financial abuse and provide support when necessary.

Banks and credit unions can assist in resolving any inconsistencies and checking for signs of financial abuse. Workers at financial institutions have been the first in the past to disclose accusations of financial abuse in various instances.

Working with law enforcement is critical if you wish to bring criminal charges against an abuser. Financial exploitation is a felony, and those found guilty of it have been sentenced to lengthy jail terms.

Ombudsmen are employed by long-term care institutions all around the nation. Ombudsmen for nursing homes serve as a point of contact for both the facility and the residents. If you suspect a loved one is a victim of elder financial abuse, an ombudsman may assist in the investigation and resolution of the issue.

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