Elder Financial Abuse

As unfortunate as it is, the people closest to us are far more capable of causing damage than a stranger is. The elderly are an easy target and are taken advantage of regularly, even if an afflicting act towards them occurs without notice or is unintentionally committed. For example, it can be especially difficult for family members to recognize the damage caused when “borrowing” money from a beloved elder transforms into financial abuse.

Despite the instinctive nature of a grandmother or grandfather to support their children, it is unacceptable to accept or request money from them on a regular basis. Though giving out gifts of cash is always a pleasant surprise, it can sometimes be the state of their well-being that affects these decisions, rather than their generosity; in those cases where this impairment is acknowledged, it can be tempting to take advantage of a giving elder. As seen on SeniorAdvice.com, family members are often put in charge of an elder’s financial matter, giving them direct access to a senior’s money. With that much knowledge and interaction with their finances, the risks are heightened as the people handling the money can potentially abuse the privilege that has been entrusted with them.

More intentional acts of financial abuse involve a partner or spouse influencing the spending habits of an elder or harming their good credit. Family members can also try to evoke guilt or sympathy from their elder relatives in order to attain financial help. Some don’t even bother asking and simply take money without the elder’s consent of the transaction.

In all cases, whether purposefully immoral or not, true distress is caused for an elder who shouldn’t have to doubt the intentions of his/her family members. Financial abuse is a silent crime that will persist unless addressed, so action must be taken against the wrongdoer, even if that person is very dear to the elder.

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