Protecting Your Residents From Financial Exploitation
Financial exploitation or abuse of older adults occurs when a person’s resources are used by another for personal profit or gain, or actions are taken that deprive an older person of his or her rightful benefits. No one is immune. This sort of theft can happen to anyone, regardless of social standing or education levels.
It’s Not Just Strangers You Need To Watch Out For
Financial abuse can come from all corners. Some businesses prey on older adults and use unfair, deceptive, and abusive practices. That said, not all abusers are strangers. Many times financial exploitation is committed by a known and trusted person.
Be aware that potential abusers are often people with drug or alcohol issues, people with gambling problems, people with untreated mental illnesses, and people who are financially dependent. If this describes anyone who is a close relative or caregiver to any of your residents, be alert.
Education Can Reduce the Risk of Abuses
Have a conversation with your residents about different financial scams. Start a conversation by recounting a story on the news about a telephone scam or theft through the internet. You can continue the conversation by reviewing guidelines.
Remind them that they should never email account numbers to anyone or fall for an emailed sob story about someone in an emergency situation who desperately needs money. Telephone scam artists are also very aggressive. Tell your seniors that it is okay to hang up on a person who is pushing them for money over the phone.
Educate your residents on identify theft and the importance of shredding any documents with their personal information. Buy a paper shredder for your facility. Encourage your residents to sign up for direct deposit for any government benefits to reduce the risk of fraud or theft.
For Additional Assistance
Eldercare Locator can connect you with resources in your local area. Contact them at 800-677-1116, or their website at www.eldercare.gov. If you have concerns about a specific resident’s finances, credit cards, or bank accounts, have their families contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at 855-411-2372.
Daniel E. Ansel is founder and president of Active Daily Living, a population health platform that provides interactive tools, personalized content, resources, and advice for seniors, caregivers, and people with functional limitations. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (513) 731-6700, ext. 17
Topics: Alzheimer's/Dementia , Featured Articles , Resident Care