Financial elder abuse happens when family members, companies, caregivers, and even strangers use the trust of the elderly and take advantage of them in order to gain benefit. The elderly who suffer from financial elder abuse are the one who cannot take care of themselves, lose their spouse who used to manage the finances, and live in care facilities. If they are financially abused, they will lose money since others may use their assets unauthorizedly or trick them.
When the elderly encounter financial elder abuse, there will be some warning signs, including making unusual financial behaviors (constant withdrawal, opening unknown accounts, making unknown changes to trusts, wills, or mortgages, etc.) and making new close friend who knows their financial life well.
According to the Nation Center on Elder Abuse, financial elder abuse has the highest reported rate among emotional, physical, and sexual abuse in the United States, even when it is believed to be under-reported. It is estimated that more than 5 million people suffer from financial elder abuse, and the total cost has reached $3 billion each year.
Harm of financial elder abuse
- Financial elder abuse usually involves threats. The elderly’s family members may hold back the needed care or say that they will send the elderly to nursing home if they don’t conduct certain financial behaviors.
- Financial elder abuse may lead to fraud. Sometimes, strangers, especially the one who has worked for the elderly before, will take advantage of the seniors by tricking them to agree home renovations or contracting work in order to take money away.
- They elderly may get involved into a complicated financial transaction which they do not understand thus they can’t ask for help or get their money back. Due to this, they may lose their home and not able to make payment in time.
- The elderly may find it hard to trust someone else again and become increasingly skeptical.
- The elderly may feel depressed, feared, ashamed and angry.