Elderly individuals often face abuse through a number of means and in any situation it is important to find help. Before the situation occurs, become educated with the associated risks, as well as how to prevent yourself or your loved one from being put in this position. While physical abuse is often one form that gains greater attention, financial abuse is a rampant problem and a threat to many dependent individuals. Know what you can do to stop this type of abuse, and learn how to recognize if someone you care about is a victim of financial abuse.
Depending on the physical state of an elderly individual, they may be unaware of their finances and unable to detect if they are being taken advantage of. Often times elders are targeted because they may be ill and this is why they need protection from concerned family, friends, and outsiders. To protect against financial abuse, one of the first things that should be done is to cancel any credit cards that are not being used. Many people may have an extra card on hand that they do not use and without continually checking the records they may not notice for a while that it is being used by someone else. Do not allow this to take place, check records,, check bank accounts and balance a checkbook continually. This should be done with someone that can be trusted or independently for those who are able to do so.
When making purchases it may be better to pay in cash rather than allow others to use a debit or credit card. This can include even friends and family members. Sadly, many people are abused by those who are closest to them. Don't give out a pin number or and never keep it with your debit card. If it needs to be written it should be placed somewhere that is safe where people do not have access. If it does become evident that financial abuse is occurring or there is reason to suspect it, it should be reported immediately.
Reasons to suspect that abuse may be taking place is when there is unusual activity in a bank account and withdrawals that are not recognized, basic things such as new clothing are not present even though there should be the finances to provide them, bills are not being paid even though there is an individual that has been designated to take care of them or changes are being made in a power of attorney or will without a request to do so. Abuse can be recognized in a number of ways and the ability to recognize is one of the most useful tools one can use to protect their loved ones. Be aware of what financial abuse looks like to prevent it before it starts or to stop it immediately if it does take place. For those that have already faced financial abuse, contact us at Norman Taylor & Associates to find out how we can help you obtain justice.