Elderly abuse is getting worse and informing caregivers for our seniors is one of our top priorities for this website. We are passionate about protecting our seniors physically, emotionally and financially. It is the financial elder abuse which particularly gets us riled up since this is usually an inside crime that often goes unreported.
Just this week, a Nashville grandmother had money and her car stolen by her grandson. He had scammed her into giving him her car title. Then the grandson sold her car for $30. Luckily, he was caught and she got her car back, but she has lost more than possessions. She has lost trust.
How can we protect our elderly from financial abuse?
Here are 3 tips.
1. Select an advocate who can help keep an eye on your senior’s finances
That could be you, a trusted member of your family, a lawyer, or someone at your church. But it is important to get another person involved who can be an extra advocate for you aging parent.
You can tell other family members this person will be reviewing the checking accounts, credit card accounts and savings on a regular basis. If a question arises about an unusual need for money from another family member, your parent is to contact the advocate first or you. No major decisions about money will be made without your knowledge or the advocate’s.
2. Make a Rule Your Parent Is Not to Buy Anything Over the Phone
It’s okay for your parent to order things, but your mom or dad should be initiating the call first. They should never give to any organization which calls them out of the blue. This may sound harsh, but it is a rule which can prevent a lot of heartache and problems.
I know of a senior who gave to a political campaign just because the caller was nice and talked to him. He was lonely, and ended up sending them more money than he could afford. His daughter hit the ceiling once she found out even though she supports their politics.
This rule not only applies to politics, but also to charities and anybody else who calls your parents first. Inform your parent that any contributions they give in the future must go through you or your advocate. That takes a lot of pressure off of your parent and it sends a clear message that someone is behind your parent who is on top of things.
3. Take Care of Family Problems Before They Get Out of Hand
This is a tough subject to talk about. Sometimes there are some family members who don’t have your parent’s best interest in mind. We all know where I’m going with this. The case of the grandson in Nashville is only one example.
One of our jobs as caregivers is to notice any problems involving our parents before they get out of hand. Obviously, if the grandson sells the car for $30 he needs cash fast and that could indicate drugs are involved. You don’t need family members like that around your helpless aging parents. You wouldn’t leave your grandchild alone with someone like that, so you certainly shouldn’t allow them to dominate your mom or dad.
Again, get outside help if you need to, but get it done.
Here is a video by Cindy Laverty in which she tells of a scam that almost trapped her aging mother. It all started with a phone call from a man claiming to be Cindy’s nephew. Naturally, her mother was concerned about her grandson being in trouble because the young man said he had been in a bad accident and was being threatened with jail. He needed money fast.
Then another man got on the phone explaining everything for a second time, just in case Cindy’s Mom didn’t quite understand it all. Could Cindy’s Mom please send money immediately through Western Union?
Frankly, I didn’t know people still sent money by Western Union nowadays, but maybe that is just me.
When Cindy got on the phone the man became angry. Cindy knew it was a scam but her mother still wasn’t sure. She wanted to do the right thing for her grandson.
This is the scary part. The men had all of Cindy’s mom’s information. They knew a lot about her. However, there was one hitch. They hadn’t counted on Cindy being there.
Put your parents on alert. If anything does not sound right, or out of the ordinary, tell them to inform the caller they will be calling the police.