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Older adults are, unfortunately, more prone to financial abuse and exploitation than other age group. Between 5 and 20 percent of people 65 and older in the United States have been victims.
Details of abuse may vary among individuals—ranging from manipulation and extortion to theft and fraud—but the reasons this demographic group is targeted are easily categorized.
A few characteristics of the 65-and-older population make them easy prey for strangers or family members looking to exploit them financially.
Age-related issues such as dementia or mental impairment, worsening cognitive thinking skills, and physical frailty can make it more difficult for older adults to make sound decisions and ask questions, in turn making them easier to exploit.
Another aspect of this demographic making them vulnerable to financial abuse is their predictability. For example, an older adult may receive their social security check at the same time each month. This pattern gives perpetrators everything they need to know the best time to strike.
It makes sense that older people in general have more wealth than younger people, thanks to a lifetime of working, investing, and saving. However, this concentration of wealth in an already vulnerable population makes the elderly even better targets of financial exploitation.
Maintaining your finances is a difficult task, and as the elderly continue to age, their ability to make financial decisions, understand their assets, and use banking technology may decline. However, their confidence doesn’t necessarily decline alongside their financial capabilities, leaving them unaware of their vulnerable state.
There are many reasons why the elderly may be reluctant to seek help or go to the authorities after being financially exploited. They may, for example, be embarrassed or worried about causing trouble. Fear could also be a factor—fear that they will lose their independence or fear of retaliation by the abuser. It could also be as simple as not knowing how to report what has happened to them.
With this reluctance to seek help, it’s even more important that you are familiar with the warning signs of abuse. If you can identify financial abuse, you can offer help.
If you suspect that your elderly loved one is being abused or exploited, contact the Indianapolis Nursing Home and Elder Abuse Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you fight for the compensation your family deserves.
Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.