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Helping People Age with Dignity

Survey: seniors not that worried about financial abuse

Elderly individuals can suffer greatly when they are subjected to financial abuse, and seniors can sometimes have significant vulnerabilities to such abuse. A recent survey indicates that, despite this, being worried about financial abuse is actually rather uncommon among elderly individuals.

The survey, in which over 1,200 elderly individuals were respondents, asked various questions about finances and financial abuse. In the survey, only 11 percent of the senior respondents indicated that they were worried about being financially abused.

Why do you think the worry level about financial abuse is so low among elderly individuals? What impact do you think this low worry level has on the likelihood of elderly individuals falling prey to financial exploitation?

The survey also asked friends and family members of elderly individuals about their concerns and worries about the financial well-being of their elderly ones. Their responses indicate that there is something of a disconnect between seniors and relatives/friends of seniors when it comes to concerns and views on elder financial abuse and financial protection issues.

For one, friends/family members showed a higher level of worry about elder financial abuse. Around 18 percent of surveyed friends and family members were worried about the possibility of their elderly loved ones being financially abused.

Also, friends and family members tended to not be as confident of their elderly loved ones’ ability to keep their finances protected as elderly individuals were of their own financial protection situation. Only 58 percent of surveyed friends and family members said they felt their elderly loved ones had the resources they needed to keep themselves safe from financial fraud, whereas 82 percent of seniors said they thought they were sufficiently protected.

This underscores that there can sometimes be differences of opinion between an elderly individual and their family regarding how financially vulnerable the elderly individual is. This is one of the reasons why issues regarding protection measures for an elderly individual's finances can be very sensitive topics within a family. While these issues can sometimes be very emotionally-charged ones, they can also be important ones to address.

Experienced elder law attorneys understand the emotionally-sensitive nature of these kinds of issues, and can help families navigate emotionally and legally complex matters that can come up in relation to such issues, such as conservatorship matters.

Source: CNBC, "Why seniors don't fear elder financial abuse," Kelley Holland, Nov. 10, 2015

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