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Exploitation

Caregiving and Suspected Financial Abuse: Now What? Your Caring Guide Through Uncertainty

February 7, 2024 admin
alzheimer's caregivers
Being a caregiver is a demanding yet rewarding role. But what happens when you suspect your loved one, the very person you're caring for, might be experiencing financial abuse? This realization can be heartbreaking, confusing, and leave you feeling overwhelmed. It's important to remember that you're

Being a caregiver is a demanding yet rewarding role. But what happens when you suspect your loved one, the very person you’re caring for, might be experiencing financial abuse? This realization can be heartbreaking, confusing, and leave you feeling overwhelmed. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone, and there are steps you can take to protect your loved one and navigate this difficult situation.

Acknowledging the Reality:

Financial elder abuse, the illegal or improper use of an older adult’s money or property, is unfortunately far more common than many realize. The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that one in ten older adults falls victim to financial exploitation annually. Recognizing the signs and acting is crucial for their safety and well-being.

Gathering Evidence and Understanding:

Before jumping to conclusions, seek evidence beyond suspicions. Look for:

  • Unusual changes in banking activity: Unexplained withdrawals, large transfers, or new accounts opened without your loved one’s knowledge.
  • Pressure to sign documents: Be wary of sudden changes to wills, trusts, or power of attorney documents, especially if your loved one seems confused or pressured.
  • Isolation and limited contact: Increased isolation from trusted friends and family, especially during conversations about finances, can be a red flag.
  • Unexplained gifts or loans: Excessive gifts or loans to people your loved one barely knows could indicate manipulation.

Remember, these signs are not definitive, and every situation is unique. However, if your concerns persist, gather documentation, and seek reliable information from sources like:

Taking Action with Empathy:

Now comes the critical part: acting to protect your loved one. While the steps below might seem daunting, remember you’re doing this out of love and concern.

  • Talk to your loved one gently: Express your concerns in a caring and non-accusatory way. Listen openly and offer support.
  • Seek professional advice: An elder law attorney or financial advisor specializing in elder abuse can provide legal guidance and help secure your loved one’s finances.
  • Report to authorities: If you suspect criminal activity, contact Adult Protective Services or law enforcement. They can investigate and initiate legal action if necessary.
  • Prioritize your loved one’s safety: If abuse is confirmed, consider steps to protect them, such as changing account access or seeking safe accommodation away from the abuser.

Supporting Yourself and Building a Team:

Caregiving amidst suspected abuse can be emotionally draining. Remember to prioritize your own well-being by:

  • Seeking support: Confide in trusted friends, family, or support groups for caregivers. Don’t hesitate to seek professional counseling if needed.
  • Practicing self-care: Engage in activities that bring you peace and replenish your energy.
  • Building a team: Partner with other family members, legal professionals, and social services to advocate for your loved one and share the burden.

The Family Caregiver Alliance reminds us, “You are not alone in this journey. There are resources and support available to help you protect your loved one and manage the challenges of caregiving.” Acting, even in the face of uncertainty, can make a profound difference in your loved one’s life. With knowledge, empathy, and the support of professionals and loved ones, you can guide them towards a safer and more secure future.

Remember, while confronting suspected abuse can be difficult, your courage and proactive steps can protect your loved one and bring much-needed peace of mind to both of you. You are not alone on this journey.

If you haven’t checked out Worthy Journey, FamliCare’s newsletter, please sign up today to receive encouraging information to ease the stress of your noble journey, find additional financial/legal resources, or simply find a smile.

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