Reporting Suspected Financial Abuse Of The Elderly Is The Right Thing To Do
Financial abuse of the elderly can be devastating. If you see it or suspect it you should report it to protect the safety and even the health of the person you are concerned about.
Whether a family member, a caregiver, or a stranger is doing the abuse, there is a real threat that the senior’s checking and savings accounts can be wiped out or that they can be drained a little at a time.
Reporting this kind of abuse can take courage because it may require naming a family member or a friend as the suspect. The financial abuse could involve theft, fraud or various scams designed to take an elderly person’s money or property.
While the reporting process can vary by state, you should report suspected abuse to local law enforcement and your local Adult Protective Services agency. If you know where the person does their banking, you should report your concerns there as well.
When making a report, you should name the elderly person, list her or his address, name the suspected abuser, and note what you believe is happening. The more information you can supply about the situation, the better.
Warning signs that could indicate financial abuse include:
- Unpaid bills piling up.
- Utilities being cut off.
- The disappearance of cash, jewelry or other items.
- Concerns about how people are handling an elderly person’s finances.
- Unexplained expenditures.
- Contractors making suspicious claims.
If you suspect financial abuse, talk to the elderly person to see if you can learn more and let them know that you are concerned for their well being.
For more information about the abuse of the elderly and how to find contacts in your area, visit the online site of the National Adult Protective Services Association at http://www.napsa-now.org/.
While reporting potential abuse might make you nervous, you should be strong for those who might be unaware of the problem or who are too nervous to stand up for themselves.