Elder abuse occurs to 1 in 10 adults over 60, according to the National Council on Aging, and 60% of elder abuse is perpetrated by family members. About two-thirds of those perpetrators are adult children or spouses. One of the most common forms of elder abuse is financial elder abuse. That’s the misuse or withholding of an older adult’s resources by another. If you are a concerned and caring child, these statistics may seem alarming – however with a few simple steps, you can stand between your parent and abuse/neglect.
Here are three preventive measures:
- Don’t let your parent be isolated. Seniors who are mostly alone can become vulnerable to a “gateway” caregiver. That’s a person claiming to be looking out for the person, but instead they may get a power of attorney and transfer that person’s property and financial assets into his or her own name. Help fight this, by having your parent spend time with friends and family.
- Help your parent with proper legal documents for their financial assets. This will ensure that the senior’s assets don’t fall into the wrong hands. Ask us or another estate planning attorney about an ongoing and updated plan. At the very least, make sure all of their health care and ancillary documents are up to date. For example, a power of attorney allows a trusted agent to manage your parent’s finances, if he or she can’t.
- Be more in touch with siblings than ever before.Elderly people need their children, nieces, nephews and any family member who is involved in their lives to be their eyes and ears in watching for elder abuse. The more connected a senior is with family and friends, the more people who can protect them. The family members also need to be willing to report any instances of suspected elder abuse to the correct authorities.
These are just a few ways you can protect your elderly parents from abuse and neglect. Remember, when all is said and done, the possibility of your parents experiencing abuse is still relatively small, however it is still common enough that it is very important to keep a vigilant eye out for warning signs and to take simple steps to walk alongside your parents and make sure everything looks the way it should.