It is estimated that about 5 million elderly Americans are victimized by financial scams each year. Some estimates say that as many as 44 cases of this go unreported for every 1 that is brought to the attention of authorities. As the population of senior citizens increases thanks to the Baby Boomer generation, it is thought that these numbers will continue to increase. The amount of money lost could be as high as $36.5 billion per year right now, but because it is growing at such an alarming rate, Mark Lachs of Weill Cornell Medicine and New York Presbyterian Hospital has called this a public health crisis.
Why? Because people who are subjected to this type of abuse have an early mortality rate that is three times higher than those who have not been abused. Financial abuse isn’t just something that impacts someone’s bank account, but their overall health.
This problem is destructive, hateful, and an act of betrayal. Oftentimes, it is done by someone close to the senior, but not always. There are many different variations of financial abuse, and it is hard to always predict where it will occur. However, that does not mean that it is not preventable.
Sometimes we don’t make the best decisions with our money. People of all ages are susceptible to this. But as we age, sometimes those decisions can be a little worse. This is sometimes referred to as “age associated financial vulnerability.” It is a term used to describe the increased risk that seniors face with their money as they age, especially if things like dementia become a factor. But Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia do not need to be present for someone to fall prey to a scammer or theif. Financial judgment often fails before cognitive and physical health does, either because of too much trust in the wrong places or out of matters of convenience.
It’s clear that we have an obligation to help and protect the people that we love. This can be done in many ways, but one of the easier ways for you to help your parent or another elderly loved one is by surrounding them with trustworthy people who truly have their best interests at heart. This might mean taking an honest look at some of your friends and family members, and it might mean being extra careful when hiring a professional caregiver to come into your home and assist your mom or dad. That’s why we conduct extensive background checks on each employee we hire at Paradise In-Home Care. We want to make sure that we do as much as we can to hire the right people so that you don’t need to worry about your parents safety–financial or otherwise–while they are being assisted throughout the day.
There are a lot of things to worry about when we are caring for a loved one. Our hope is that we can help lift some of that burden for you so that you can worry about other things and give your parent the very best that you can give them.