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How to Identify and Stop Elder Financial Abuse

Although many people focus on physical abuse with senior citizens in nursing homes, there is another form of abuse that is just as detrimental. The American Association of Retired Persons reports that one out of every 44 cases of elder financial abuse remain unreported, which is why it is critical for family members and other loved ones to be aware of significant changes in behavior. 

There are many ways you can stop financial abuse. You can contact emergency and protective services in your area to let them know of the situation. In the event you still only suspect financial abuse, then you can get in touch with the senior’s financial institution and let them know to look out for any cases of fraud. However, before doing any of this, you need to know what signs to pay attention to. 

Credit cards used in unusual ways

Your loved one may have a credit card, and you should have a good idea of how often he or she uses it. One particularly noteworthy behavior to look out for is cash advances. Some caretakers will add their names to the account so they can use a patient’s credit card. This can send a senior into massive debt he or she may not be able to get out of. 

Prized possessions go missing

When you go visit your loved one at the nursing home, ask questions if a valuable item is no longer in the room. In particular, you should notice if any jewelry or important mementos have gone missing. If the senior has trouble answering the question it could be a sign a caretaker has stolen something. 

Sudden alterations in the senior’s mood

A senior may not experience physical abuse, but financial abuse can still be similarly harmful. A senior who seems more anxious or nervous, especially around the caretaker, may have something she or he is afraid to say.