It is estimated that each year in the United States, hundreds of thousands of people age 60 and older are victims of abuse and neglect. There are many forms of elder abuse including physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect; however, one of the more insidious forms of elder abuse is financial exploitation. Currently, financial exploitation is the most prevalent forms of elder abuse and occurs in 46% of the total cases of elder abuse.
Elders who are frail and not fully able to take care of themselves are vulnerable to abuse. Family members, contractors, telemarketers, financial advisers and even healthcare professionals entrusted with the elder’s care are usually the ones exploiting them financially. Elder adults who have been financially exploited are often left without the resources they need to assist in their care; they also often lose their dignity and any sense of independence they may have had. Older adults made destitute have no alternative but to turn to public aid when they need care.
There are steps to take to ensure you elderly loved one is not take advantage of by swindlers. Power of attorney is a useful legal tool that allows an individual to designate another party to manage funds to transact business on his or her behalf. Also, in some states, bills have been introduced in the Senate and Assembly to help protect elders by making long overdue changes in the power of attorney law.