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Helping People Age with Dignity

Is elder financial abuse going down?

What trends are occurring when it comes to how common elder financial abuse is matters greatly, given how harmful such abuse is to its victims. A recent survey indicates that we might be starting to see an encouraging trend on this front: a decrease in elder financial abuse.

The survey's results indicate that around 17 percent of Americans over 65 have been subjected to financial abuse. This is down from the findings of similar survey from back in 2010. That survey found the elder financial abuse rate to be around 20 percent.

What might be contributing to a decrease in financial abuse of the elderly? One possible factor could be medical professionals playing a bigger role in elder financial abuse prevention. Given their training and expertise, medical professionals could have helpful insights when it comes to detecting possible cognitive-health-based financial abuse vulnerabilities. The survey indicated that discussions between doctors and family members of elderly individuals on financial ability concerns have gone up quite a bit since 2010.

Of course, medical professionals are not the only ones who can play an important role in elder financial abuse prevention.

For one, elderly individuals themselves can. There are certain preparations a senior could make to try to reduce their chances of being a financial abuse victim. In a past post, we discussed some of the estate planning steps that can be directed towards financial abuse protection. 

Also, family members of elderly individuals can help with abuse prevention. One way is through vigilantly watching for signs that their elderly loved one may be vulnerable to financial abuse. Another is through taking appropriate steps to protect their loved one when abuse vulnerabilities are detected. In some instances, this could involve taking legal steps, such as looking into the possibility of a conservatorship.

One hopes that elder financial abuse is actually going down and that everyone in a position to help with elder financial abuse prevention will work hard to help make this type of abuse less likely.

Source: InvestmentNews, "Survey shows slight decline in elderly financial abuse cases," Christine Idzelis, March 22, 2016

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