How to Prevent Financial Elder Abuse

How to Prevent Financial Elder Abuse

At some point in time, many of us will have to make the difficult decision to place our elderly loved ones in an assisted living facility or nursing home for their health benefit. While these locations may be the best option for them health-wise, they could also lead to emotional or psychological abuse by employees.

Florida law provides that any person over the age of 18, of sound mind, may draft a will. The law further requires that the will be written, signed by the testator, and be signed in the presence of two witnesses.

Elder abuse is unfortunately one of the most common forms of financial abuse, especially in nursing homes and other assisted living facilities. The individuals who have been convicted of such elder abuse often have the same tactic – they convince an elderly individual that their family no longer cares about them, which is why they placed them in the institute. From that point, they continue to build a relationship with the elderly individual, eventually earning the trust and knowledge to wear the individual down to the extent of writing their own family out of their will or other financial document. This is not a close family acquaintance and the family is often shocked to discover the incident upon their loved one’s passing.

The death of an elderly family member is always a difficult time in any person’s life. To discover that a loved one was taken advantage of by a medical staff member makes this period of time even worse for the family.

It is important to stay in close contact with any member of your family in an assisted living facility or nursing home, especially in situations where the individual may not have full use of all their mental faculties. Medical staff who are searching to take advantage of the elderly will often pounce on the opportunity to take advantage of an individual who shows deterioration. The medical staff who resort to these measures often prey upon the mentally unstable individuals and maintain that their family never visits. If you prove them wrong with your ongoing, regular visits, you can not only prevent financial abuse, but also make your loved one’s days more enjoyable.

It is also important to maintain full control of their finances during this time, and possibly even place all accounts in your name as well as theirs during a period of lucidity. This can prevent a scheming individual from attempting to move funds over.

Elderly financial abuse is unfortunately a very real occurrence throughout assisted living facilities throughout the state and can wreak havoc on families. Recognizing the early signs of financial abuse (such as hostility) can be the first steps toward rectifying the problem. However, maintaining ongoing interaction with your loved one and staying aware of their finances is one of the best defenses to financial elder abuse. It is unfortunate that people continue to take advantage of our loved ones during this difficult phase in their life, but it is a problem that can be easily rectified if caught early enough.