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Helping People Age with Dignity

The brain and elder financial abuse vulnerability

There are steps elderly individuals can take to try to give themselves some protection from possible financial abuse. For example, there are things they can put into their estate plan, such as certain types of trusts, that could help on this front.

Now, some seniors might assume that financial abuse is something they would never fall victim to, and thus that they don’t really need protection. However, it can be important to remember that things outside of one’s control could end up affecting one’s vulnerability to such abuse. This includes things like what happens with their cognitive state and their brain as they get older. A recent study linked certain brain characteristics to elder financial exploitation.

In the study, researchers compared the brain images of a small group of older adults who had been financial abuse victims and a small group of older adults who had been exposed to an exploitation attempt but avoided it.

The study found brain differences between these two groups. These differences were in two parts of the brain: the medial prefrontal cortex and the anterior insula. The financial abuse victims showed lower connectivity and higher atrophy in these areas. The study’s researchers postulate that these types of brain characteristics could increase a seniors’ exploitation vulnerability.

As this underscores, how vulnerable a person is to financial abuse in their elderly years is a complex thing that could be impacted by a range of factors. So, no one can be certain that they would never fall victim to such abuse. Given this, seniors may find elder financial abuse protection something worth giving some thought.

Skilled elder law attorneys can answer questions seniors have on what can be done in an estate plan when it comes to the goal of putting in protections against elder financial abuse.

Source: news-medical.net, “Researchers find biological basis for financial exploitation in older adults,” March 29, 2017

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