At all points in life, we face the threat of being abused; abused physically, emotionally, or even financially. Our elder abuse lawyers write this blog to keep you informed about the dangers of being taken advantage of as you get older and the different ways to see the warning signs in order to prevent yourself from being a victim. The problem is that there are so many different forms of abuse, it is hard to protect yourself from all of them. Financial abuse can come from anyone, but a disturbing number of cases involve a victim’s own children.
The exact number of cases is unknown, but experts estimate that between 60 and 90% of financial elder abuse is committed by family members. Out of that percentage, one out of five cases go unreported. Unfortunately, many victims do not report that their children have been stealing from them because they are embarrassed or do not want their children to be punished. It is expected that this form of abuse is going to increase as the number of the elderly population in this country grows.
Warning Signs and Prevention
Often, the adult child that is more likely to steal from their elderly parents still relies on his or her parents for support. According to Dr. Winsor Schmidt, professor of family and geriatric medicine at the University of Louisville, “Research suggests that increased risk of elder financial abuse by adult children is associated with such factors as the perpetrator’s unemployment, inability to drive and financial dependence upon the older person.” You should also consider a history of substance abuse, chemical dependency, compulsive gambling, and other addictions as reasons to be more vigilant. Choosing a financial caretaker is a very important decision and a job that should only go to someone you absolutely trust.
The older you get the higher your chances of being taken advantage of become. Individuals that have a hard time performing everyday tasks, getting around by themselves, or who suffer from Dementia or Alzheimer’s are most often the victims of financial abuse. Parents who have children who live far away from them or each other are also at a higher risk. One sibling can misuse the parents’ assets without the others finding out.
Few parents anticipate or ever want to think about the fact that their children may someday cheat them out of their entire life savings, but it is unfortunately common. Many people are in the mindset that it will not happen to them, that they have great kids and nothing to worry about. As elder abuse lawyers, we encourage you to take this seriously and choose a financial caretaker carefully. Think about the warning signs and choose someone who is responsible and good with money so you do not fall victim to a growing form of abuse. If you can, discuss these issues with a lawyer while you are planning your estate. The more planning you do and the more you get in writing, the better your chances of preventing abuse and theft.
Elder Abuse Lawyers in New Jersey and Philadelphia
If your loved one is currently being taken advantage of financially or physically, or they are a resident of a nursing home and you are worried that the care they are receiving is negligent, abusive, or inadequate, contact the Mininno Law Office for a free case evaluation. You may also call for a free consultation at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.