The cost of elder financial abuse extends beyond the older individual that is targeted. A recent look at this found that about 90 percent of those that act as family caregivers for someone that was the target of elder abuse were also negatively impacted by the abuse, too.
The average cost that is generated for a family caregiver over the course of a lifetime by financial abuse of a loved one stood at $36,000. This occurs not because they were defrauded or victims of theft, but because these are the individuals that are usually left responsible for paying for senior care after the initial financial abuse occurs. The average cost per year that comes directly from a caregiver’s pocket when an older family member has fallen victim to some sort of theft ends up being $8,400. This study was conducted in 2016, and it looked at about 1,000 individuals that acted as family caregivers. It included both those impacted by financial abuse and those that have thankfully never experienced this. To put this in perspective, family caregivers that had not been impacted by financial abuse spent $3,000 less per year on their loved one’s care, on average.
Family caregivers already give a lot of their time to the people that they love. This takes place both in the home and out of it. On average, they found that family caregivers gave about 10 hours per week in time outside of the house, either driving their loved one’s to doctors appointments, getting groceries, or something else. Most caregivers do not receive any sort of financial support for doing this. Instead, they act out of love for the people that they assist. When you add the cost of elder abuse onto this, the toll is even bigger than what it might seem at first glance.
Any type of elder abuse is a crime. The problem with financial abuse is that it is often so hard to detect. There are no bruises or malnutrition that can be physically observed. Oftentimes, by the time it is detected, it is almost impossible to reverse. Many times, it is never even noticed by the person impacted. And while the above mentioned study focused on those that were not victimized by the person caring for them, financial theft can be perpetrated by a family caregiver. We strongly believe that families should do all that they can to ensure that their loved ones receive the best possible care. By focusing on high quality professional care, administered by a fully trained in-home care specialist, you are taking just that step.
Almost all cases of financial abuse are completely preventable. By knowing the signs of financial abuse, you can take great strides toward preventing this in the lives of the people that you love. If you suspect that some sort of abuse is happening, financial or otherwise, do not hesitate to get in touch with law enforcement professionals so that the problem can be dealt with legally.