What To Look For
What is financial abuse? Who are possible targets? Who might be the perpetrators? Is one of your loved ones at risk? If they are, what can you do about it? When should you report it to Adult Protective Services?
No one wants to think they, or their loved one(s) will be exploited or taken advantage of by family or friends. But it happens. Trusted friends, family and caretakers along with the professionals that manage their assets are more likely to be the perpetrators of financial abuse than strangers.
Elder abuse is not always easy to spot, but the key to identifying it is to look for a pattern of behavior, physical symptoms, or other events and telltale signs that, in combination, provide evidence of the abuse, neglect or exploitation of an elder.
The following are some risk factors that leave elders vunerable to abuse:
- Elders with memory problems (such as dementia) or who are physically dependent on others.
- Elders with depression, loneliness, or lack of social support.
- Caregiver stress--when the caregiver feels overwhelmed with the care of the elder.
- Caregiver has history of substance abuse or history of abusing others.
- Caregiver has high emotional or financial dependence on the elder.
- Has given Power of Attorney for financial and/or medical business to be handled by a relative or trusted friend.
- Has opened Joint Bank Account(s) with family or friends which may or may not be known to other family members.
Are you a family member, friend, neighbor, or co-worker who thinks something is “wrong” but you’re not sure if something is wrong and if it is, what to do about it? The National Adult Protective Services Association may provide you with some help in deciding whether your friend or loved one needs help or, in more extreme cases, needs to be reported to adult protective services.