Elderly residents living alone with poor health conditions face higher risks of abuse. According to a Cornell University study, greater than one out of 10 of New York state’s older residents may experience mistreatment over the next 10 years.
Researchers also noted financial abuse as a common form of elder mistreatment. Approximately 9% of elderly New Yorkers experienced financial misconduct. Those individuals who live alone face a greater risk of economic abuse.
Signs that a loved one may face greater risks of financial exploitation
Researchers could not conclude that poor health alone contributes to financial exploitation. The National Council on Aging, however, reports that elders most vulnerable to abuse include socially isolated individuals with a mental impairment.
Symptoms of an elder experiencing financial exploitation could include sudden or unusual spending habits. Disconnected utilities or unpaid bills often offer clues. New or unknown signatures on bank statements could also reveal elder exploitation.
Preventive steps could help avoid financial misconduct
Certain steps could help prevent vulnerable individuals from attracting the attention of a predator. Taking better care of health issues may help. Receiving treatment for a medical condition could also improve an elder’s focus and demeanor. By creating a financial power of attorney, a named representative may help with a senior’s financial affairs. An authorized representative could, for example, arrange for automated bill payments.
Families taking the right preventive steps could reduce the chances of a loved one becoming a victim. Checking on older family members to remain sure they receive needed medical treatment serves as a good start. Authorizing a trusted agent to assist an elder with his or her financial matters through a power of attorney could bring even greater protection.