Is your elderly parent the victim of financial abuse?

Whether your parent still lives in their home or has moved into an assisted living or nursing home facility, their comfort often depends on maintaining their financial health. However, strangers, caregivers and even family members may try to take advantage of them in their old age, and their finances could be impacted as a result.

What are the signs that your loved one is being abused?

Financial abuse and mistreatment can take many different forms. One recent concern is telemarketing or email scams meant to rob elderly people of their savings. This is not the only way that your loved one may be mistreated, however. They may be threatened, or their money and possessions may be used without their permission. They may even be manipulated into giving gifts or changing their estate plan.

Knowing the signs of financial abuse can be key to protecting your loved one and their comfort late in life. These signs include:

  • Changes to your loved one’s behavior or mood
  • Forged checks
  • Money, possessions, checks or other items going missing from their home
  • Withdrawals from your parent’s bank account that cannot be explained
  • Unusual behavior on their debit or credit card
  • A sudden change in your loved one’s ability to maintain their usual standard of living
  • Bank statements or other financial information that no longer goes to their home
  • Changes to your loved one’s estate plan, especially to their power of attorney.

These changes can all be a sign that your loved one is being threatened or manipulated and that their finances are at risk.

What to do if you suspect financial abuse?

If you suspect that your elderly parent is being mistreated, it is essential to respond quickly to prevent further damage. California law offers protection in cases of elder abuse, and reporting your parent’s mistreatment can help hold their abuser responsible, defend their rights and protect their financial safety in the future.