Loading the player...

What is 'Financial Elder Abuse'

Financial elder abuse involves taking advantage of the elderly and unfairly benefiting from their monetary resources. Family members, business associates, caregivers and strangers sometimes financially abuse elders by taking advantage of their trust.

Tactics involved in financial elder abuse include the unauthorized use of an older person’s assets, gaining power of attorney by way of trickery, or engaging in fraud.

BREAKING DOWN 'Financial Elder Abuse'

Financial elder abuse often involves family members who think they are entitled to an elder’s assets.

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, part of the U.S. Administration on Aging, 41 in 1,000 elders report financial abuse, a rate higher than that for emotional, physical and sexual abuse, as well as neglect. The organization also notes this figure typically is under-reported. The center believes abusers exploit as many as 5 million elders financially each year, costing senior citizens $3 billion annually.

Individuals at risk for financial elder abuse include seniors who depend on personal care from others, those who recently lost a spouse who handled the finances and those living in long-term care facilities.

Financial elder abuse sometimes involves threats. For example, family members who withhold needed care for their elders or warn they’ll send an elder to a nursing home unless that person signs over financial assets is engaging in elder abuse.

Warning signs of financial elder abuse include rapid account drawdowns or other unusual financial behavior, as well as new close friends who seem to know a lot about an elder’s personal and financial life. Other signs include the opening of unknown accounts, increased account activity and suspicious withdrawals. Moreover, recent and unknown changes to wills, trusts, mortgages, deeds and property titles all provide warning signs.

Where To Find Help In Cases of Financial Elder Abuse

Resources for those who think they are being exploited include a service called The Eldercare Locator, which can be reached at www.eldercare.gov, or by calling 1-800-677-1116.

In addition, most states have some sort of adult protective services agency. The National Adult Protective Services Association web site at  www.napsa-now.org/get-help-in-your-area also places senior in touch with needed resources to counteract financial abuse.

Additionally, all states have long-term care ombudsmen that advocate for residents of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. Many have experience dealing with financial elder abuse. Individuals in these facilities can go to www.ltcombudsman.org/ombudsman to find an ombudsman.

Lastly, it’s not unheard of to simply call or go to a local police station and ask for help.

  1. Elder Law

    Elder law is a legal specialty focusing on the rights and needs ...
  2. Elder Care

    Elder care, sometimes called elderly care, refers to services ...
  3. IRS Publication 524 - Credit For ...

    A document published by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) providing ...
  4. Abusive Tax Shelter

    An abusive tax shelter is an investment scheme that claims to ...
  5. Long-Term Care Ombudsman

    A long-term care ombudsman is an official who oversees nursing ...
  6. Assisted Living

    Assisted living is a type of housing facility for the elderly ...
Related Articles
  1. Financial Advisor

    Protecting the Elderly From Financial Scams

    Advisors should know the red flags that may signal when an elderly client is the victim of financial exploitation.
  2. Retirement

    Estate Planning and Elderly and Passed Clients

    By keeping up with new estate tax rules, financial advisors can help elderly clients save big on tax costs.
  3. Financial Advisor

    How Advisors Can Help Clients Spot Elder Scams

    Financial crimes against the elderly are on the upswing. Here's what financial advisors can do to help protect their most vulnerable clients.
  4. Retirement

    The High Cost of Being a Caregiver

    The number of Americans requiring eldercare is expected to soar in the near future, which means more adults will be thrust into the role of caregiver.
  5. Retirement

    Pros and Cons of "Small-Home" Care Facilities

    Intimate alternatives to traditional large nursing homes are gaining popularity. Could one of them be right for you or a member of your family?
  6. Retirement

    Things Nursing Homes Are Not Allowed to Do

    Nursing home residents just got new safeguards to their rights, rights they aren't supposed to lose when entering a facility.
  7. Retirement

    Why Caregiving Costs Women

    Fueled by extended life expectancies, lost wages from reduced work and rising healthcare costs, women are now the hardest hit when it comes to caregiving for an elderly parent.
  8. Retirement

    Taking Care of the Super Seniors in Our Lives

    Take care of the seniors in your life.
  9. Financial Advisor

    7 Ways Baby Boomers Can Financially Assist Parents

    To help relieve some of the pressure that comes with caregiving, here are seven ways Boomers can financially assist elderly parents.
  10. Retirement

    The Best Ways to Help Aging Parents With Finances

    The time may come when you need to help your parents organize their finances if they become unable to do so, and it is always better to be proactive.
  1. Do financial advisors get drug tested?

    Financial advisor regulatory bodies do not require drug testing, but many individual firms that hire advisors do. Read Answer >>
Trading Center