Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Financial Elder Abuse in ALF

We know about under-reporting of elder abuse as well as the rise of financial exploitation.  Patrick Egan's December 6, 2013 post Tracking a Thief, Once You Know There Is One in the New Old Age Blog puts a face to the problem.  He writes how his father, a resident of an ALF, kept telling him that he had money missing and he turned out to be right. An employee was caught through the credit card usage.  The author and his sister made some changes to protect their dad from future financial exploitation:

The first step was easy: less cash. His lifelong habit of withdrawing $300 was reckless and, given his lifestyle, unnecessary. He agreed to limit withdrawals to $30 per bank visit....We also embraced technology, getting statements and bills online to stop the paperwork piling up on his desk.... We also set up electronic transfers from his I.R.A. to his checking account, to prevent having checks lying around.

The article notes something we all know: "[f]inancial elder abuse statistics are not easy to pin down. Estimates have run as high as five million incidents annually, but no one knows for sure. Experts consider financial elder abuse grossly underreported, in large part because the criminals are often also family members."

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