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Learn about senior financial abuse during National Family Caregivers Month

Hand of Old Person Holding Cane-g6e316f109_640Up to five million older Americans are abused every year, and the annual loss by victims of financial abuse is estimated to be at least $36.5 billion.

A guide to help family members and friends of people living in nursing homes and assisted living communities learn how to prevent and report elder financial abuse is available from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office for Older Americans.

It provides information on the signs of financial abuse and how to take steps to help a loved one if assistance is needed.

Elder financial abuse is complex. Sometimes, the people taking advantage of older adults can be trusted people who are managing money for their parent, relative, or friend.

Some may try to take advantage of the senior by taking money or assets for themselves. Or, they may fail to pay for necessities such as food, clothing, shelter, or health care, putting the older person at risk.

Strangers or care team members, neighbors, or visitors can also be perpetrators.

Four key steps of successful intervention in cases of elder financial abuse are:

  • Prevent – Educate yourself, your loved ones, and your community.
  • Recognize – Spot the warning signs and take action.
  • Record – Document what you observe.
  • Report – Tell the appropriate authorities so they can investigate and help.

The guide also lists red flags to watch for, shares some common scenarios, and includes resources you can use to help your loved one.

The CPSC also offers a “quick reference” handout that’s focused on how to report elder financial abuse. It can help you quickly find the right resources in a tough situation.

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