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How can we spot and prevent financial abuse of elders?

Children are our future, while our elders are the basis of our wisdom and culture. It may be difficult to manage the care of our parents and grandparents, but it is vital to their health and well-being as well as upholding the Florida laws that protect them.

Elder abuse can take many forms. Physical and mental abuse are often the most likely and the most concerning, while psychological abuse is usually a slower-moving issue that affects victims over a long period of time. Financial abuse, however, has increased a marked amount in the last two years.

What is financial abuse of elders?

Any use of a senior citizen's money, assets or possessions without his or her knowledge or approval constitutes financial abuse. The perpetrators may be guilty of fraud, larceny or a variety or related felonies or misdemeanors.

Why has financial abuse risen so much?

Wealthy retirees residing at home or in assisted living in Florida and other densely populated places provide the opportunity for confidence scammers and unscrupulous businesses. However, the families and friends of seniors often turn out to be the financial abusers. The increase in opportunity combined with a need for cash usually fuels this abuse.

How can we prevent financial abuse?

Seniors and their allies need to keep track of assets, and it is usually a good idea to review expenditures bi-weekly or monthly to check for unexpected spending. It is often a good idea to consult an attorney if financial abuse is suspected.

Source: Fremont News-Messenger, "Financial abuse a growing risk among elderly," Craig Shoup, May 06, 2018

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