Cracking Down on Financial Elder Abuse
Seniors are one of the most vulnerable groups in our society. Far too often unscrupulous people prey upon this vulnerability. It is very important to understand the warning signs of financial elder abuse so you can immediately guide victimized seniors to help.
Seniors Lose Billions of Dollars Every Year Through Financial Elder Abuse
While most seniors are treated with the love, care, and devotion they deserve, studies show that elder abuse is all too common. According to the National Council on Aging, as many as five million older Americans are abused every year, with the annual loss by victims of financial alder abuse estimated to be at least $2.6 billion. Sadly, family members, friends, neighbors, and in-home or facility caregivers often are the perpetrators of the abuse.
Detecting and Stopping Financial Elder Abuse
While physical symptoms such as bruises, abrasions, or bedsores might be obvious signs of physical elder abuse, improprieties concerning a senior’s finances often are more readily hidden. If you have suspicions, it is imperative that you look, listen, and ask questions. Has a neighbor or long-lost relative suddenly began “stopping by” the senior’s home on a regular basis? Are valuable items missing from the home? Has the elder abruptly decided to change their will or began making large “gifts” to a family member or caregiver? Have they said that someone is making them uncomfortable? These are just some of the questions that must be asked in any instance where elder abuse might be occurring.
Additional warning signs of suspected financial elder abuse include:
- A senior’s unexplained withdrawal from normal activities or sudden onset of depression
- New names added to the elder’s bank or financial accounts
- Statements arriving in the mail for new bank accounts
- Changes to a senior’s will or estate plan
- Not recognizing a senior’s signature on documents regarding finances or property
- Large cash withdrawals or bank transfers
- Diminished care or neglect of the elder, despite adequate financial resources
Fortunately California passed the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act in 1982, providing for specific and enhanced remedies for victims of financial or physical elder abuse. With the help of an experienced firm such as the Law Offices of Robert L. Hill, victims may be able to receive up to three times their actual monetary losses, as well as punitive damages and attorney’s fees. If you’ve noticed signs of financial elder abuse, it is imperative that you call us at 760-448-4425 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We are here to help.