Financial abuse of the elderly is no small matter.
As we age, our brains lose functionality.
Even if you do not have dementia, your ability to make sound decisions is compromised.
As you age, the probability of developing dementia also increases.
For example, 7 percent of individuals over age 60 have dementia while almost 30 percent of those age 85 or older will suffer from dementia.
With numbers like these, financial abuse is a dangerous possibility.
According to a recent The Kansas City Star article titled “Five ways to avoid elder financial abuse,” it is important to take precautions to protect yourself and your loves ones.
Talk with your aging loved one.
By checking in regularly, you can better detect unusual behaviors or expenditures, as well as deter unsavory characters.
Remind them never to open suspicious emails or give out banking or personal information.
Help them shred account statements and receipts with sensitive information.
Keep a pulse on how your loved one is spending his or her money.
If outside help is required to function on a daily basis, be involved in the hiring process.
Review banking statements to see if anything is out of the ordinary.
Use checks and balances.
The best way to do this is through estate planning.
Giving authority to trustworthy family members may provide accountability on financial actions.
Build relationships with professionals.
You should know the professional advisors of your parents, such as financial planners and estate planning attorneys.
Inventory financial documents and accounts.
Know what life insurance policies, long-term care policies, bank accounts, and investment accounts they have, let alone where the policy documents and other statements are kept.
If any accounts can be combined, it may be wise to do so.
Taking these precautions will add levels of protections.
If your loved one does become a victim of elder financial fraud, go to the authorities for help.
Reference: The Kansas City Star (September 8, 2018) “Five ways to avoid elder financial abuse”