Steps You Can Take to Help Prevent Elder Financial Abuse

The best course in dealing with elder financial abuse is to prevent it. There are a variety of ways you might assist elderly people in addressing their financial lives to reduce the chance of their being financially exploited.

Be there: Be a consistent presence in the lives of your parents or other family members or friends to whom you are very close. Visit often, and pay attention to them and their lives. Watch out for risk factors and warning signs that someone in their lives might be taking advantage of them. Observe them for any physical or behavioral changes, such as weight loss or gain, sudden anger, or a withdrawn demeanor or secrecy about finances.

Scrutinize professional caregivers: These caregivers are in a unique position to commit elder financial abuse and exploitation. There is never a guarantee—even with your own careful investigation—that you will not end up with a predatory caregiver. But you can increase your chances of hiring the right in-home caregiver by going through a licensed agency that conducts a thorough criminal-background check. You are always encouraged to ask questions about the agency’s screening process.

Have difficult conversations: Before dementia or other cognitive issues arise, talk to your parents or relatives about their financial wishes, and ensure those wishes are documented. Research from Allianz Life showed that elders who discuss their finances with a relative, friend, or trusted professional are more likely to protect themselves from financial abuse.

Here Are Some Additional Ways You Can Help Prevent Elder Financial Abuse:

  • Become familiar with your loved ones’ financial information and current estate plan documents.
  • Review financial information and estate planning documents regularly.
  • Get to know your family members’ medical and financial teams.
  • Avoid caregiver burnout by taking care of caregivers. Make sure they have adequate time off and the resources they need to do their job.
  • Make unannounced visits.
  • Educate your loved ones about current solicitations and scams.
  • Establish and maintain open lines of communication.

Please remember that different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product made reference to directly or indirectly in this content, will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), or be suitable for you or your portfolio. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this newsletter (article) serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Searcy Financial Services, Inc.

The content of this letter does not constitute a tax or legal opinion. Always consult with a competent professional service provider for advice on tax or legal matters specific to your situation. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed in this content, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing.  

Published for the blog on May 29, 2018 by Searcy Financial Services, your Overland Park, Kansas Fee-Only Financial Planner and Investment Manager.