Many threats exist to a senior’s well-being that a Bryn Mawr senior home care provider must be aware of when providing any form of senior care. Unfortunately, along with all the physical concerns of elderly people, some of those threats come from other people in the form of financial abuse.
Financial abuse, also called financial exploitation or fraud, is a significant problem in America today. Estimates are that 1 in 5 seniors have reported a form of financial abuse. In this two-part series, we want to look at the causes and effects of senior financial abuse, as well as how to help prevent its occurrence.
Simply put, financial abuse is any situation where a senior is taken advantage of by others seeking their money. Since people tend to have diminished mental abilities as they age – particularly those who have suffered a stroke, dementia, or other mental illness – seniors are prime targets for scammers.
One challenge of senior financial abuse is that many underestimate how widespread the threat is. According to recent statistics from US News & World Report, elderly financial abuse costs over $36 billion per year. Further, estimates are that only 1 in 44 seniors reports financial abuse. Perhaps the most dismaying statistic is that 90% of abuse situations come from family members or other trusted individuals.
The most obvious effect of senior financial abuse is the loss of money – potentially most or all of that senior’s savings. Loss of money can create a domino effect of problems, if individuals are suddenly unable to pay for necessities of life such as their housing or medication. After all, many seniors are living off of the savings they built up during their working years. The sudden reduction in their financial status can cause drastic, even catastrophic, changes to their lifestyles. In worst case scenarios, they may become unable to afford necessary healthcare.
Additionally, seniors who have been financial victims are more likely to be affected by depression, which then further compounds any other physical or mental challenges in their lives. Depression can create new burdens for the senior’s friends and family as well.
Senior financial abuse can be ruinous to an elderly loved one. Always be wary of questionable situations where money is involved and intervene if you feel that your senior loved one is being taken advantage of. For information about how our professional caregivers can assist you with senior home care in Bryn Mawr, please contact us today.