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.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Elder Law

    Elder law is a legal specialty focusing on the rights and needs ...
  2. IRS Publication 524 - Credit For ...

    A document published by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) providing ...
  3. Long-Term Care Ombudsman

    A long-term care ombudsman is an official who oversees nursing ...
  4. Daily Money Manager - DMM

    A daily money manager is a person who takes over someone’s day-to-day ...
  5. Debt Restructuring Fraud

    An illegal technique where an individual or corporation hides ...
  6. Fureai Kippu

    Fureai kippu is a system of currency in Japan that allows people ...
Related Articles
  1. Retirement

    Elder Abuse: What You Need to Know and Look for

    Look for these signs of elder abuse to help protect your loved ones.
  2. Insights

    Elder Financial Abuse: How to Protect Yourself

    There are behaviors and laws that will help you avoid becoming a victim of financial abuse.
  3. 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.
  4. Personal Finance

    Protecting Parents from Financial Abuse

    Talking about finances with parents is hard, but it could help protect them from financial abuse.
  5. Financial Advisor

    Tips for Retiring Without Long Term Care Insurance

    Long term care insurance is as pricey as it is important. Here are tips for how to manage retirement and meet healthcare costs without a policy.
  6. 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.
  7. Financial Advisor

    Alternatives To Nursing Homes

    There are many other options for elderly care other than nursing homes. Here are some of the options available and the costs associated with them.
  8. Retirement

    How Children Can Help Parents With Retirement

    Sometimes the elderly lose their cognitive skills, that's when it may be time for their children to step in and assist with retirement planning.
  9. Personal Finance

    How to Factor Family into Your Retirement Plan

    Hashing out a family retirement plan can be overwhelming. That's why it's important to revisit things like timing, saving for kids’ college, and caregiving for elderly parents each year.
  10. Retirement

    Top 5 Strategies To Pay For Elder Care

    The cost of a nursing home, assisted living facility or home care can be ruinous. Try these routes to help seniors qualify for Medicaid and pay the bills.
Trading Center